Opening statements by CBD Alliance, International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) and the Women's Caucus.

Statement from Third World Network, Ecoropa and SEARICE (CBD Alliance)

Thank you Chair. I’m speaking on behalf of the Third World Network, Ecoropa and SEARICE, active members of the CBD Alliance who are present at this meeting.

We thank the Parties for having taken up Decision 15/9 which agrees to share, fairly and equitably, the benefits arising from the use of DSI. This decision took a lot of effort to arrive at. The moment has now come to show the world that all those efforts are not meaningless. We have gathered here to develop an efficient, accountable and transparent multilateral mechanism which binds users of DSI to share benefits fairly and equitably.

Chair, the standard that the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol maintains is “appropriate access” to genetic resources. However, when it comes to DSI, the idea of “open access” has dominated the discussions, without a real examination of what that standard refers to. Since expert after expert has agreed that “DSI” practically reduces the relevance of physical access to genetic resources, we need to be careful about the implications of “open access”. It should not become “free access”, where users undertake no commitments to share benefits with the providers of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, including indigenous peoples and local communities.

Open access should also meet the standard of “appropriateness” - this will only happen if the medium used to share DSI becomes accountable to CBD Parties and maintains minimum access rules. In this regard, we believe that accountability of databases should be central to the discussions here. Failing to infuse accountability into the current practices of DSI sharing will only incentivize the privatisation of wealth generated using biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge, while costs are borne by the public.

Further, just as countries are cautious about the cross-border flow of financial and economic data, there needs to be, equally, caution about the cross-border flow of genetic data or DSI given its commercial and economic applications. Therefore, the multilateral mechanism has to respect the sovereignty of the States as well as the rights of IPLCs. Parties should retain control over data generation, storage and dissemination - only then can they exercise their sovereignty in the true sense. Basic international law principles extend the sovereignty of States to digital infrastructure and assets including data, and this should not be abridged by the multilateral mechanism.

Finally, with regard to the global fund that is to be part of the multilateral mechanism, we do not believe that distribution based on competitive project financing alone is the answer. While a part of the fund could be distributed this way, the idea that one has to compete for the benefits which they are actually entitled to, is unjust. This cannot be the basis of real benefit sharing. We need to explore other ways by which funds should be transferred to the providers of the genetic sequences, particularly indigenous peoples and local communities who have stewarded biodiversity.



Opening statement International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB)


The foundation for a long-term solution on DSI is to create conditions for a robust, transparent and flexible approach that recognises the diversity of interests of Parties, Indigenous Peoples, Local communities. It needs to recognise the unique relationship that indigenous peoples and local communities have with biodiversity, and their conservation and diversification of genetic diversity - past, present and future.
This can be created through two practical steps:

  • Firstly, establishing a foundational requirement that DSI must be deposited with databases and repositories that participate in the mechanism. This will create basic conditions for trust, provide legal certainty and generate substantive benefits;
  • Secondly, the identification of a set of basic terms and conditions to give participants choices when sharing DSI. This should not assume that DSI will go into the public domain.

Open and Responsible Data Governance

Basic terms and conditions of use must be combined with measures to promote ethical Open and Responsible Data Governance.

  • Any DSI obtained through FPIC must be deposited into databases linked to the Mechanism.
  • In line with the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science and the OECD recommendation on enhancing access to and sharing of data, a core principle is that data sharing arrangements should be as open as possible to maximise the benefits to society and as closed as necessary to protect legitimate public and private interests including respect and safeguards for the rights of IPs, LCs Women and Youth.
  • The FAIR principles are widely recognised as good practice in open research and innovation and the complementary CARE principles consider the needs and values of IPs and LCs.
  • Many Parties such as the EU, the UK, Australia and Canada already support Open and Responsible Data Governance in their funding policies and we will be happy to discuss examples.
  • Additional measures of particular importance include providing measures to associate provenance metadata for species that are socio-economically and culturally significant, as defined by IPs and LCs, such as Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Notices and Labels.

The Global Fund Mechanism

  • Regarding the governance of the fund, the participation of IPs, LCs, and stakeholders
    should be integral to the design, management, priority setting and governance of the fund.
  • Trigger points for contributions to the fund should stem from multiple revenue generation measures. This should be seen as part of the Resource Mobilisation Strategy to support implementation of the GBF such as Target 21.
  • Disbursement of funds needs to be fair, equitable, transparent, practical, secure, and
    directly accessible for IPs and LCs across all 7 socio-cultural regions, ensuring their full and effective participation.

Issues For Further Consideration

  • The fear of fraudulent metadata creation should not outweigh the need for safeguards in the first place. Mechanisms for verifying metadata provenance should be maintained, as affirmations of accuracy upon input, and the requirement for associated contact details, needs to be submitted alongside the data input in accordance with existing controls.
  • The relationship between ownership, property rights and potential as well as actualised intellectual property rights pertaining to DSI should be further investigated to ensure the operability of the GMBSM and ABS as a whole.
  • We propose that an ATHEG bod
  • y should be conformed to ensure the continuity and
    consistency to DSI implications to the relationship of IPs and LCs to biodiversity, and GRs with Associated Traditional Knowledge.
  • We acknowledge the need to develop safeguards to ensure sustainable flow of benefits and ensure the successful implementation of Open and Responsible Data Governance.

An extend version of this statement is available for download.

Opening statement by CBD Women

We have walked the walk that led to having the Nagoya Protocol today, as the African Group
The CBD Women Caucus is responding to the CALL in paragraph 14 of the decision 15/9.
We are here, as actors and partners, and ready to fully and effectively participate. Our priorities must be conceptualized and taken into account.
We urge Parties and other stakeholders, including other Governments, Business and Academia
to act accordingly with what they have agreed and said here and in so many other fora.
Therefore, the CDB Women’s Caucus expects the inclusion of gender responsiveness and
gender approach in the next assessments of DSI issues, including in the Multilateral Mechanism for ABS from DSI, and in capacity building considerations.
We also call for gender responsiveness in all the work and frameworks and mechanisms
relating to DSI in line with the KM-GBF by all actors involved in DSI. We further call for a
verifiable, fair, transparent, collaborative and accountable process that responds to the needs of women.
We look forward to further discussions on open access and benefit sharing.