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Recent International Developments in Access and Benefit Sharing Regulatory Framework

ICTSD and CIEL Side event- WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore
Geneva, Switzerland, 06 December 2006


Description |Agenda| Participants|

Description

Effective access to biological/genetic resources and benefit- sharing (ABS) is an integral part of discussions and negotiations related to the protection of biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge (TK). An adequate ABS mechanism is perceived as an effective measure in sustainable use of resources thereby facilitating conservation of biodiversity. The discussions on protection and sustainable use of biological/genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge have an impact on numerous policy areas such as biotechnology, food security, agricultural productivity, and public health. It also has cross-linkages with a number of thematic issues such as environment, intellectual property and technology issues, cultural rights, agriculture and human rights. More importantly, international trade in genetic resources involves high economic stakes.

There have been significant developments in the sphere of access and benefit sharing in multiple fora in the recent past, such as the initiative to negotiate the draft international regime on access and benefit sharing at CBD and the drafting of a Standard Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) at FAO. Other developments include the proposed amendment to the TRIPS Agreement at the WTO to incorporate, inter alia, mandatory requirements for disclosure of source of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge in patent applications and the striking trends in the bilateral and regional FTAs being signed by the US and EU with a number of countries incorporating specific intellectual property and other provisions directly affecting traditional knowledge and biodiversity. WIPO member states continue to discuss the draft sui generis model laws on protection of TK, Genetic Resources and Folklore.

In this context, ICTSD and CIEL have joined forces to organize this meeting with an aim to:
o Tracing recent developments in different fora in the field of Biodiversity.
o Facilitating exchange between different agencies working on ABS and thereby promote policy coherence in the discussions and negotiations on this issue.
o Supplementing discussions at the IGC on conservation of genetic resources and the protection of traditional knowledge



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