18-29 OCTOBER 2010

The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) opens today in Nagoya, Japan, following the fifth Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 5) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (11-15 October 2010), the meeting of the Interregional Negotiating Group (ING) on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) (13-16 October 2010) and the second resumed ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on ABS (16 October 2010).

During this two-week meeting, the COP will consider a series of strategic, substantive, administrative and budgetary issues. Among several items, the meeting is expected to adopt an international protocol on ABS; assess achievement of the target to reduce significantly the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010; adopt a new strategic plan and a multi-year programme of work for the Convention; consider issues related to cooperation with other conventions, organizations and initiatives; and address substantive issues, including on marine and coastal biodiversity, biodiversity and climate change, forest biodiversity, biofuels, and Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge).

A series of meetings and events will be held concurrently with CBD COP 10, including: the Rio Conventions’ Ecosystems and Climate Change Pavilion, the fair on experiences and best practices in communication, education and public awareness, and more than 300 side-events (18-29 October 2010); the City Biodiversity Summit (24-26 October 2010); the Parliamentarians and biodiversity meeting (25-26 October 2010); and the COP 10 High-level segment (27-29 October 2010).



The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992, and entered into force on 29 December 1993. There are currently 193 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The COP is the governing body of the Convention.

COP 1: At its first meeting (November – December 1994, Nassau, the Bahamas), the COP set the general framework for the Convention’s implementation, by establishing the Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), and by designating the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the interim financial mechanism.

COP 2: At its second meeting (November 1995, Jakarta, Indonesia), the COP adopted a decision on marine and coastal biodiversity (the Jakarta Mandate) and established the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety to elaborate a protocol on biosafety, specifically focusing on transboundary movement of living modified organisms (LMOs) that may have an adverse effect on biodiversity.

COP 3: At its third meeting (November 1996, Buenos Aires, Argentina), the COP adopted work programmes on agricultural and forest biodiversity, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding with the GEF, and called for an intersessional workshop on Article 8(j) and related provisions.

COP 4: At its fourth meeting (May 1998, Bratislava, Slovakia), the COP established a Working Group on Article 8(j) and a panel of experts on ABS, and adopted the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) and a work programme on marine and coastal biodiversity, as well as decisions on: inland water, agricultural and forest biodiversity, and cooperation with other agreements.

EXCOP: Following six meetings of the Biosafety Working Group between 1996 and 1999, delegates at the first Extraordinary Meeting of the COP (ExCOP) (February 1999, Cartagena, Colombia) did not agree on a compromise package to finalize negotiations on a biosafety protocol, and the meeting was suspended. The resumed ExCOP (January 2000, Montreal, Canada) adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and established the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to undertake preparations for COP/MOP 1. The Protocol addresses the safe transfer, handling and use of LMOs that may have an adverse effect on biodiversity, taking into account human health, with a specific focus on transboundary movements.

COP 5: At its fifth meeting (May 2000, Nairobi, Kenya), the COP reviewed the work programme on agricultural biodiversity, established an ABS Working Group, and adopted work programmes on dry and sub-humid lands, and incentive measures, and decisions on Article 8(j), the ecosystem approach, sustainable use, biodiversity and tourism, invasive alien species (IAS) and the GTI.

COP 6: At its sixth meeting (April 2002, The Hague, the Netherlands), the COP adopted the Convention’s Strategic Plan, including the target to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The meeting also adopted: an expanded work programme on forest biodiversity; the Bonn Guidelines on ABS; guiding principles for IAS; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation; a work programme for the GTI; and decisions on incentive measures and Article 8(j).

COP 7: At its seventh meeting (February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), the COP adopted work programmes on mountain biodiversity, protected areas (PAs), and technology transfer and cooperation, and mandated the ABS Working Group to initiate negotiations on an international regime on ABS. The COP established the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation, and adopted: a decision to review implementation of the Convention, its Strategic Plan and progress towards achieving the 2010 target; the Akwé: Kon Guidelines for cultural, environmental and social impact assessments; the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for sustainable use; and decisions on communication, education and public awareness (CEPA), incentive measures, inland waters, and marine and coastal biodiversity.

COP 8: At its eighth meeting (March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil), the COP adopted a work programme on island biodiversity and decisions on a range of issues including Article 8(j), CEPA, cooperation with other conventions and private sector engagement, PAs, including high seas PAs, incentive measures, biodiversity and climate change, and forest, marine and coastal, and agricultural biodiversity. COP 8 reaffirmed the COP 5 ban on the field testing of genetic use restriction technologies, and instructed the ABS Working Group to complete its work with regard to an international regime on ABS at the earliest possible time before COP 10, to be held in 2010.

COP 9: At its ninth meeting (May 2008, Bonn, Germany), the COP adopted a roadmap for the negotiation of the international ABS regime before the 2010 deadline for completion of negotiations, a Resource Mobilization Strategy for the Convention, and scientific criteria and guidance for marine areas in need of protection; and established an ad hoc technical expert group (AHTEG) on biodiversity and climate change.


ABS NEGOTIATIONS: The ABS Working Group met four times to negotiate the international ABS regime (April 2009, Paris, France; November 2009, Montreal, Canada; March 2010, Cali, Colombia; and July 2010, Montreal), assisted by expert, informal and regional consultations. During the first two meetings, delegates worked on consolidating a draft. In Cali, the Working Group Co-Chairs circulated a draft protocol text, but due to procedural wrangling the meeting was suspended. The resumed meeting in Montreal, using the ING format established in Cali, worked in good spirit on the draft protocol text, reached agreement on non-controversial provisions, and made progress on certain difficult issues, including the relationship with other instruments and compliance with domestic ABS requirements. Delegates also identified key issues that require further compromises, including scope and pathogens, derivatives and the concept of utilization of genetic resources, and mechanisms to support compliance. With several sets of brackets remaining, the Working Group held an additional meeting of the ING, which convened in September 2010, in Montreal. While the meeting achieved some progress towards an improved common understanding on derivatives and the concept of utilization, key issues remained outstanding.

ARTICLE 8(J) WG 6: At its sixth meeting (November 2009, Montreal, Canada), the Working Group on Article 8(j) adopted a series of recommendations, including an advanced draft of a code of ethical conduct to ensure respect for the cultural and intellectual heritage of indigenous and local communities, and transmitted detailed views on the international ABS regime to the ABS Working Group.

GEF 5: The fifth replenishment process of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) progressed through six meetings convened during 2009 and 2010, when participants discussed the Fourth Overall Performance Study of the GEF, the programming approach for GEF 5, policy recommendations, and financial arrangements and burden-sharing. Negotiations were concluded on 12 May 2010, the total contributions resulting in a 52.5% increase in new resources available to the GEF. In the case of biodiversity, funding will increase from $941 million in GEF 4 to $1.21 billion in GEF 5, an increase of about 29% for biodiversity.

SBSTTA 14: The 14th meeting of SBSTTA (May 2010, Nairobi, Kenya) witnessed the launch of the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook and adopted 18 recommendations to COP 10, including on: in-depth reviews of implementation of work programmes on mountain, inland waters and marine and coastal biodiversity, PAs, biodiversity and climate change, and Article 10 (sustainable use); agricultural biodiversity and biofuels; dry and sub-humid lands; forest biodiversity; IAS; post-2010 outcome-oriented goals and targets; incentive measures; the GTA; and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.

WGRI 3: The third meeting of the CBD Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI) (May 2010, Nairobi), adopted 12 recommendations to COP 10, including: an updated and revised strategic plan for the post-2010 period, which remains bracketed pending resolution of financial issues and negotiations on ABS; a proposed UN decade on biodiversity 2011-2020; business engagement; a proposed biodiversity technology initiative; the multi-year programme of work of the Convention for the period 2011-2020; integration of biodiversity into poverty eradication and development; and a science-policy interface on biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well being.

IPBES: Following two meetings (November 2008, Putrajaya, Malaysia; and October 2009, Nairobi, Kenya), the third ad hoc intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting on an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES) (June 2010, Busan, Republic of Korea) concluded that such a platform should be established and reached agreement on its main elements, recommending that it would collaborate with existing initiatives on biodiversity and ecosystem services and be scientifically independent. The meeting also recommended that the UN General Assembly be invited to consider its conclusions and take appropriate action for the establishment of the platform.

CONFERENCE ON CULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: Organized in collaboration with UNESCO, the International Conference on Cultural and Biological Diversity for Development adopted a declaration on bio-cultural diversity and a proposed joint programme between the CBD Secretariat and UNESCO on the links between biological and cultural diversity.

UNGA HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON BIODIVERSITY: A contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity, the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly (22 September 2010) included a general discussion and thematic panels on the way forward in achieving the three CBD objectives and the internationally agreed biodiversity goals and targets. Participants highlighted, among others: the need for political impetus and flexibility in the negotiations on a draft protocol on ABS; the opportunity to adopt an ambitious post-2010 strategic plan; and the importance of creating an IPBES.


The ING met from 13-16 October 2010 to continue negotiations on a draft protocol on ABS. The second resumed ninth meeting of the Working Group on ABS was held in the afternoon of 16 October, to approve the ING outcome and forward it to the COP.


The ING developed consensus language on several provisions of the draft protocol contained in the report of its meeting held from 18-21 September 2010, in Montreal, Canada (UNEP/CBD/WG-ABS/9/ING/1). With regard to issues of major controversy, including derivatives and the concept of utilization, compliance and pathogens, delegates held in-depth discussions in small groups, in preparation for further negotiations during the COP.

This section outlines discussions and outcomes on cross-cutting issues and protocol provisions addressed during the ING negotiations.

PREAMBLE: Delegates discussed the preamble without making much progress. Several preambular clauses remain bracketed.

DERIVATIVES: Building on prior Working Group and ING deliberations and following discussions in a small group, delegates noted emerging consensus on the concept of genetic resource utilization and benefit-sharing from derivatives under article 4 of the draft protocol. An area of disagreement was identified with regard to the conditions for access to derivatives under article 5, and specifically whether prior informed consent (PIC) would be required for access to derivatives not containing functional units of heredity, such as biochemical compounds. Discussions are expected to continue during the COP.

PATHOGENS: The issue was discussed in a small group and then in informal consultations. On Saturday, 16 October, facilitator Paulino Franco de Carvalho Neto (Brazil) reported to the ING that consultations continue on the basis of draft text to be placed under article 6 on emergency situations. The text states that parties shall take into consideration the need for simplified measures on access in case of emergencies or other circumstances of extreme urgency regarding public health and food security that would cause serious damage or threat to biodiversity and, in this respect, pay due regard to rules, procedures and practices established under relevant organizations and conventions, such as the World Animal Health Organization, the International Plant Protection Convention or the World Health Organization. Discussions are expected to continue during the COP.

ACCESS TO TK ASSOCIATED WITH GENETIC RESOURCES (ARTICLE 5 BIS): Following informal consultations, delegates accepted clean language stating that, in accordance with domestic law, parties shall take measures, as appropriate, with the aim of ensuring that traditional knowledge (TK) associated with genetic resources that is held by ILCs is accessed with the PIC or approval and involvement of these indigenous and local communities (ILCs), and that MAT have been established. An ILC representative considered agreement on such language a major step forward, but put on record ILCs’ disagreement with deletion of a bracketed reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He further noted concern about the reference to domestic law, but said ILCs could accept it.

During the resumed Working Group session held on Saturday afternoon, an ILC representative, speaking on behalf of seven indigenous organizations from North America, noted they had not been consulted and they are not in agreement with the proposed text.

Other provisions remained bracketed for consideration at a later stage, namely on: parties taking measures to ensure that TK within their jurisdiction has been accessed and utilized in accordance to paragraph 1; parties’ measures addressing situations of non-compliance; and cooperation in cases of alleged violations.

TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE (ARTICLE 9): Delegates discussed whether parties shall take into consideration community-level procedures, including customary laws of ILCs, or ILCs laws, community protocols, procedures and/or customary laws, without reaching consensus. Delegates also addressed the cross-cutting issue of whether to refer to associated TK or TK associated with genetic resources, and agreed to refer to TK associated with genetic resources throughout the protocol.

A lengthy discussion was held on benefit-sharing from publicly available TK. Some parties requested deleting the paragraph, others supported “requiring