in penetrating the process that it will take us many years of negotiation and learning to find out how we will realize this access and benefit sharing provision in the framework of the CBD.
That delegate was frustrated after a meeting that had not been very successful, so he may have been too pessimistic, but, nonetheless, the negotiations are certainly progressing slowly. We are now just a little more than 10 negotiation days away from the day when this should be adopted, and about half of the subject matter that should be covered by the regime has been consolidated into one text, but the text contains an enormous amount of the square brackets that indicate instances of disagreement. We have about 2,000 brackets or at least 1,000 cases where countries cannot agree on what the text should say concerning this regime.
At the same time, the pressure to adopt something in 2010 is very strong. For the CBD, 2010 will be the International Year of Biodiversity, and the CBD has an objective to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, so it might happen that a very broad declaration or framework agreement may be adopted, but there is sure to be an ongoing process afterwards. That means that there will be opportunities to continue engaging with this process after 2010, and the important thing will be to keep the door open at the tenth Conference of Parties in Japan in 2010.
Box 28–1 contains the first paragraph of the article on scope. Everything inside the brackets must still be negotiated. It demonstrates just how confused the question of what will be covered by the regime is right now.
Text on Scope
The International Regime on Access and Benefit-sharing applies to [all] [biological resources,] genetic resources, [including viruses and other pathogenic , [ as well as potentially pathogenic] organisms and genetic sequences regardless of their origin] [derivatives,] [products] [benefits arising from commercial and other utilization] as well as [to their] [associated] traditional knowledge, innovations and practices [covered by the Convention on Biological Diversity] [in accordance with Article 8(j)] [within national jurisdiction and of a transboundary nature] [in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity] [subject [and mutually supportive] to other [relevant] international obligations] [and without prejudice to other international obligations]. [The International Regime will also apply to genetic resources of migratory species that for natural reasons are found on the territories of the Parties.]
The emphasized part of the text in the box is where a definition of the genetic material that is covered will eventually go. The only part of the definition that is not in brackets here is “genetic resources.” The reason is because this is covered in the convention, and it cannot be renegotiated the delegates have not yet started to renegotiate the convention. All the other terms in the text are highly diffused, overlapping, and sometimes conflicting. The one big source of frustration at the last meeting was that—for some reason that I do not understand—the European Union insisted on inserting a