COP 8 Philippine Decision PDF Print E-mail


The 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the UNCBD was held from March 20 to 31, 2006 in Curitiba, Brazil. The Philippine delegation made the following statements on the agenda items of the COP.

On island biodiversity, the Philippines deemed it urgent to develop island-specific measures to achieve the Convention’s objectives, as islands, being smaller and fragile than land masses, suffer from the loss of biodiversity at a faster rate. It was thus forwarded that there be provisions on new and additional financial resources and mechanisms that would facilitate its implementation. The Philippines also reiterated its concern on access and benefit sharing from the utilization of genetic resources indigenous and endemic to islands and the traditional knowledge associated with them by calling for the inclusion of actions in the island biodiversity program of work pertaining to said concern without prejudice to the ongoing negotiations on an international access and benefit-sharing regime.

On Article 8 (j), the Philippines again emphasized, as a member of the Megadiverse Group, support for the indigenous peoples through their representative, the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity. It also reiterated the importance of the development of elements of sui generis mechanisms for the protection of knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities. The Philippines pointed out that this is related to the work on measures to ensure compliance with prior informed consent, particularly on disclosure requirements. The Philippines regards sui generis mechanisms as positive measures to prevent the misappropriation of the traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities.

On technology transfer and scientific and technical cooperation, the Philippines reiterated the need to have a clear program within the Convention to provide technical and financial support to developing and least developed countries. The Philippines also noted the work done by the Convention Secretariat on the role of intellectual property rights in technology transfer within the context of the Convention. It urged that equal attention be given in identifying the barriers posed by intellectual property rights to technology transfer and how to overcome these using existing national and international law or instruments and other mechanisms.

On the Convention’s financial mechanism, the Philippines took note that of the three components of the Convention’s objectives, financing has so far been concentrated mainly on conservation. Little has gone into sustainable use and the equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. It also gave extensive concern over the resource allocation framework (RAF) as totally inconsistent with the provisions of the Convention on financial resources and mechanism, that it goes against all guidance provided by the COP, and that it runs the risk of rendering the GEF almost irrelevant as an operating institution.

Recognizing the extensive nature of its deep sea bed marine environment such as the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas as well as the Philippine Deep, the Philippines expressed support to the SBSTTA recommendations on marine and coastal biodiversity as they relate to deep seabed genetic resources beyond the limits of national jurisdictions. It stressed that attention should also be given to deep seabed resources within national jurisdictions, as in the Philippine case, and called on further research and international collaboration in marine scientific research on deep seabed biodiversity and the assessment of the threats to these resources. The Philippines likewise declared its support to the IUCN recommendation for an interim prohibition on deep sea bottom trawling beyond national jurisdictions until appropriate management mechanisms are in place to safeguard vulnerable deep sea habitats such as seamounts, hydrothermal vents and cold water corals.

On agricultural biodiversity, the Philippines expressed support for the cross-cutting initiative on biodiversity for food and nutrition. However, it stressed that the matter of addressing soil erosion in various land management and rehabilitation programs should also be prioritized. At the same time, the role of water management in these land management and rehabilitation programs should also be explored. Consistent with its position in 1998, the Philippines also reaffirms the current ban on the field testing and commercial use of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies or GURTs. The Philippines sees the work of the Working Group on Article 8 (j) as an affirmation of the negative socio-economic impact of GURTs not only on small-scale farmers but also on the conservation and sustainable use of biological and genetic resources by local and indigenous communities. On the matter of using a case-by-case approach in dealing with the impacts relating to GURTs, the Philippines is of the position that this is not only premature as no empirical study has yet been produced to warrant its application, but it also tends to weaken the precautionary principle presently adopted by the Convention.