WG8j-12 “was challenging, in particular around terminology issues”.
WGDSI-1 deliberations focused on a multilateral mechanism on benefit-sharing from the use of DSI on genetic resources, including a global fund.
The meeting has “potentially laid the foundations for a new era for global biodiversity governance”.
A seven-day intersessional meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) focused on the implementation of the Convention’s third objective – the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources, bringing Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) to the center of deliberations.
The first meeting of the Working Group on benefit-sharing from the use of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources (WGDSI-1) convened in conjunction with the 12th meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions (WG8j-12). The meetings took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 12-18 November 2023.
“Discussions in Geneva,” the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary report of the meeting notes, “have potentially laid the foundations for a new era for global biodiversity governance” and will help the CBD “make a giant leap” towards its third objective “if negotiations in the coming months on … DSI on genetic resources are productive and can overcome the many challenges that persist and lead to a robust outcome.”
ENB reports that “WG8j-12 was challenging, in particular around terminology issues.” Underscoring Indigenous Peoples’ struggles for the recognition of their rights, some delegates lamented that some countries have “denominated Indigenous Peoples as local communities to reduce those rights.” Others pointed to the “centuries-old role local communities have played, and will continue to play, in preserving biological resources and transmitting knowledge.” They acknowledged that Indigenous Peoples and local communities “may be ‘different entities,’” but said “separating them is out of the question.” The ENB analysis of the meeting highlights that debates over the term ‘IPLCs’ “w[ere] seen to have ‘poisoned’ the deliberations on other agenda items, in particular the new programme of work.”
Yet, ENB writes, “WG8j-12 was able to find common ground on the remaining issues on its agenda, such as the knowledge management component of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), the joint programme of work on the links between biological and cultural diversity, and the role of Indigenous languages in the intergenerational transmission of traditional knowledge, innovations, and practices.”
WGDSI-1 deliberations focused on a multilateral mechanism on benefit-sharing from the use of DSI on genetic resources, including a global fund. According to ENB, “[i]f constructed properly, the mechanism may provide a meaningful contribution towards closing the biodiversity financing gap, which is estimated at around USD 700 billion annually.”
The meeting analysis indicates there are also discussions underway on relations with other processes that work on DSI, differences in focus and objectives notwithstanding. These include the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The ENB suggests these are “important pieces of the overall puzzle that will have to fall in place for a holistic, robust, and future-proof mechanism.” [ENB Coverage of WGDSI-1 and WG8j-12]