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No. 265/07 | Berlin, 08.10.2007

Fair access to genetic resources

Preparation of the UN Conference on Biological Diversity in Bonn in 2008

Representatives from 189 Contracting Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, have come together today in Montreal in Canada to discuss until 19 October 2007 progress in the field of access and benefit sharing (ABS) and the rights of indigenous and local communities. The meeting takes place in preparation of the UN Conference on Biological Diversity in Germany in May 2008.

The head of the German delegation, Jochen Flasbarth, head of the nature conservation directorate at the Federal Environment Ministry noted: "We have to take decisive steps now if we want to be able to implement, before 2010, the decision taken by the international community to establish a fair balance of interests for the use of biological resources. If we in the prosperous northern hemisphere expect developing countries to protect their natural environment we have to determine binding ways to ensure an equitable share in the benefits arising from these genetic resources."

An equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources for the countries of origin which for the most part are developing and newly industrialising countries, is of pivotal importance for the success for the 9th Conference of the Parties to the CBD due to take place in Bonn in May 2008. The objective for the conference already agreed among the EU member states will be to put the mandate for the development of international rules into more concrete terms and to identify the elements of such a regime. According to the EU one of these elements could be an internationally acknowledged "certificate of conformity" which would serve the purpose of confirming that genetic resources have been obtained legally. The second week of the working meeting in Montreal will be devoted above all to the protection and the use of the knowledge and practices of local populations and indigenous peoples. Items on the agenda will include an ethical code of conduct for indigenous and local communities and ways of how these groups will be involved in the negotiations on an ABS regime.

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