(Dec. 29, 2010) The 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Nagoya, the capital of Aichi Prefecture, Japan, concluded on October 30, 2010, with agreement on a strategic plan for the CBD – the “Aichi Target” – which identifies 20 targets organized under five strategic goals designed to protect biodiversity. Specifically, these goals are to “address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss, reduce the pressures on biodiversity, safeguard biodiversity at all levels, enhance the benefits provided by biodiversity, and provide for capacity-building.” (Press Release, CBD, A New Era of Living in Harmony with Nature Is Born at the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit (Oct. 29, 2010), http://www.cbd.int/doc/press/2010/pr-2010-10-29-cop-10-en.pdf.)
Targets include: at least halving, and, where possible, bringing close to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats, including forests; expanding protected land and inland water areas to 17% and marine and coastal areas to 10% of the planet; restoring at least 15% of degraded areas; and making “special efforts to reduce the pressures faced by coral reefs.” (Id.; Daniel Makosky, UN Biological Diversity Body Sets Environmental Targets, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST, Oct. 30, 2010, http://jurist.org/paperchase/2010/10/un-biological-diversity-body-sets-e
According to a CBD press release, “[t]he 'Aichi Target' will be the overarching framework on biodiversity not only for the biodiversity-related conventions, but for the entire United Nations system.” (Press Release, supra.) The Parties have two years to translate the framework into national biodiversity strategy and action plans. In addition, the CBD Parties agreed at the meeting to substantially increase the level of financial resources that support the CBD's implementation. (Id.)
Protocol on Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing from Use of Genetic Resources
Another action taken at the October meeting on biodiversity was the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol to the CBD on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization. It is expected to be in force by 2012. The Protocol is characterized by the CBD press release as follows:
The historic agreement creates a framework that balances access to genetic resources on the basis of prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms with the fair and equitable sharing of benefits while taking into account the important role of traditional knowledge. The Protocol also proposes the creation of a global multilateral mechanism that will operate in transboundary areas or situations where prior informed consent cannot be obtained. (Id.)
In regard to fair and equitable benefit-sharing, the Protocol states in part, in article 4:
1. In accordance with Article 15, paragraphs 3 and 7 of the Convention, benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources as well as subsequent applications and commercialization shall be shared in a fair and equitable way with the Party providing such resources that is the country of origin of such resources or a Party that has acquired the genetic resources in accordance with the Convention. Such sharing shall be upon mutually agreed terms.
1 bis Each Party shall take legislative, administrative or policy measures, as appropriate, with the aim of ensuring that benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources that are held by indigenous and local communities, in accordance with domestic legislation regarding the established rights of these indigenous and local communities over these genetic resources, are shared in a fair and equitable way with the communities concerned, based on mutually agreed terms.
(CBD, Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization [Advanced Unedited Text], Annex I: Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD website (Nov. 2, 2010), http://www.cbd.int/cop/cop-10/doc/advance-final-unedited-texts/advance-u
nedited-version-abs-protocol-footnote-en.doc; see also Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing, Draft Decision on the Adoption of the Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity and Related Matters,UNEP/CBD/WG-ABS/9/4, CBD website (Oct. 1, 2010), http://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/abs/abswg-09-3rd/official/abswg-09-3rd-0
Supplementary Protocol on Biosafety
In addition, after six years of negotiations, the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was adopted on October 15, 2010, at the end of the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties Serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP-MOP 5, Oct. 11-15, 2010). In particular, the new treaty sets forth international rules and procedures on liability and redress for damage to biodiversity that results from the transboundary movement of living modified organisms (LMOs). (The Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, CBD website(Oct. 16, 2010), http://bch.cbd.int/protocol/NKL_Protocol.shtml.)
The LMOs covered by the Supplementary Protocol include those “intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing; destined for contained use; or intended for intentional introduction into the environment.” (Art. 3 (1), Text of the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Supplementary Protocol), CBD website, http://bch.cbd.int/protocol/NKL_text.shtml (last visited Dec. 27, 2010).) The Cartagena Protocol defines LMOs as “any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology” (art. 3 (g)). (Text of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, CBD website, http://bch.cbd.int/protocol/text/ (last visited Dec. 27, 2010).) The Supplementary Protocol will be open for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York from March 7, 2011, to March 6, 2012; it will enter into force 90 days after ratification by at least 40 Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. (Supplementary Protocol, supra.)