COP 7 Philippine Decision PDF Print E-mail


The 7th Conference of the Parties to the UNCBD (COP7) was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from February 9-20, 2004. In this particular COP, the Philippines came out with a more comprehensive and complete articulation of its position on all agenda items for discussion.

On the issue of access and benefit-sharing, the Philippines pointed out the importance to thresh out the issues to pave the way for the negotiation of a legally binding instrument that would protect, guarantee and recognize the rights not only of the countries of origin of biological and genetic resources but also the local and indigenous communities that possess the knowledge associated with these resources and are at the same time the custodians of these resources. According to the Philippine position, the issues to be taken up should include the following: 1) recognition of the rights of local and indigenous communities in the processes which determine the terms and conditions of an access and benefit-sharing (ABS) agreement; 2) monitoring of post-bioprospecting activities at the international level including third party transfers of biological and genetic materials which may not be addressed adequately by ABS agreements; 3) development of mechanisms to actualize technology transfer and cooperation between the user of the biological and genetic resources as well as the country and the communities that provided the resources, which will become mandatory provisions in ABS agreements; 4) elaboration of benefit-sharing mechanisms that are not dependent on existing intellectual property rights regimes for the realization of benefits; and 5) elaboration of the international certificate of origin of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge including the necessary legal requirements for the disclosure of country of origin of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

On technology transfer, the Philippines urged the COP to adopt a program of work, on the one hand, and the parties as well as relevant international funding institutions to provide financial and technical support to developing countries, on the other, for biodiversity conservation efforts of and the actual generation and transfer of technologies among indigenous and local communities. In relation to this, the Philippines also urged for an analysis of the role of intellectual property rights in technology transfer and the development of models of technology transfer that are not based on intellectual property rights.

On agricultural biodiversity, the Philippines called for the following: 1) mainstreaming of agricultural biodiversity in the parties’ plans, programs and strategies with the active participation of local and indigenous communities and the provision of funds for this purpose; 2) assistance in capacity-building initiatives in the mainstreaming of agricultural bio-diversity; 3) documentation of existing community approaches in plant genetic resources conservation, development and use; 4) minimizing threats to agricultural biodiversity by banning genetic use restriction technologies; 5) assessment of the impact of trade liberalization on local and indigenous farming communities; and 6) allowing and providing opportunities to local and indigenous farming communities to use traditional, local and alternative market systems.

On Article 8 (j) of the Convention, the Philippines supported the adoption of the draft Akwe: Kon Guidelines for the Conduct of Cultural, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Regarding Developments Proposed to Take Place on, or which are Likely to Impact on Sacred Sites and on Lands Traditionally Occupied or Used by Indigenous and Local Communities. The Philippines also made the position that real progress on the issue of participation of local and indigenous communities should first be made before the COP proceeds with the development of the elements of sui generis systems for the protection of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices.

With regard to the item on protected areas, the Philippines advanced that the COP should put emphasis on the following: 1) participation of major stakeholders, particularly of indigenous peoples and local communities, in protected area management; 2) recognition and promotion of initiatives for the protection and restoration of areas for biodiversity conservation outside but complementary to the formal system of protected areas; 3) regional cooperation in protecting large biodiversity-significant areas that extend beyond single-state jurisdiction in relation to the Ecoregional Conservation Plan for the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Memorandum of Understanding entered into between the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia during the COP; and 4) provision of new and additional financial resources to developing countries in order for them to meet expanding commitments and obligations under the UNCBD.

On Communication, Education and Public Awareness, the Philippines emphasized the following strategies: localization, integration and multiplicity, i.e., 1) localization or the use of local language, channels, ways and means in reaching local communities; 2) integrating biodiversity in the educational curriculum at all levels; and 3) recognizing the role of media in reaching multiple audience shares for purposes of broadening public awareness.

During the COP, the Asia-Pacific Group also delivered its common unified statements on forest biological diversity, protected areas, operations of the Convention, and the provisional framework for goals and targets. The Philippines is a member of the Asia-Pacific Group.