The Working Group on ABS (WGABS) resumed the last round of its 9th meeting through the Inter-Regional Negotiating Group (ING) from October 13-15 in Nagoya, Japan. The WGABS was tasked by the Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to complete negotiating a Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) by the 10th meeting of the CBD COP, which takes place from October 18-29 in Nagoya. Continuing with its intense negotiations from Montreal in September (see closing blog posting here), the WGABS made a considerable amount of headway towards the Protocol on ABS. While there has not been full agreement, significant progress was made on contentious issues such as the definition of “utilization of genetic resources” and provisions relating to compliance with the ABS Protocol. However, despite the progress made, the WGABS was unable to complete its negotiations prior to the 10th CBD COP. On October 16, the WGABS met for the last time to close its 9th session and to report to the 10th meeting of the CBD COP the status of the negotiations and forward the draft text of the Protocol on ABS negotiated thus far. It is anticipated that the COP will set up a contact group made up of Parties who have been negotiating within the WGABS to continue its negotiations of the ABS Protocol through the next two weeks of the 10th CBD COP.
There are high expectations that the 10th CBD COP will adopt a Protocol on ABS before the end of October since all Parties to the CBD are committed to achieving this outcome. Kabir Bavikatte of Natural Justice participated in the ING as the legal advisor to the African Group of countries and will participate in further negotiations towards the Protocol on ABS.