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Permanent Issues with ABS?

The ninth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII) in New York has issued a joint statement about the Convention on Biological Diversity’s draft Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) that arose from recent negotiations in Cali, Colombia. The 18-page statement, written by 27 indigenous nations and organizations, calls for environmental agreements such as the CBD and draft ABS protocol to be interpreted within the context of international human rights instruments, particularly the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It asserts that there are significant substantive and procedural problems with the CBD process that threaten to undermine the right to self-determination and the entire international human rights system. It also argues that the draft ABS protocol does not maintain the standard of free, prior and informed consent and does not provide assurance of fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of traditional knowledge of genetic resources. Among other things, it calls for respect for customary laws, institutions, and community procedures, and for recognition of the integral interlinkages between biological and cultural diversity.

25 April 2010

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