COP 3 Philippine Decision PDF Print E-mail


The Philippine sent a delegation to the 3rd Conference of the Parties (COP 3) of the UNCBD held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from November 4-14, 1996. In said conference, the Philippine delegation made the following interventions.

On agricultural biodiversity, the Philippines signified that the COP should address the outstanding concerns related to ownership of and access to ex situ collections of institutions. The Philippines took the stand that such collections should be contemplated as within the purview of the Convention and that nations of origin of these resources should exercise dominion over them. It also stated that people and communities who have knowledge of and continuously conserve and maintain agricultural biodiversity should be given equal attention. Access to resources should be made only upon prior informed consent of the local and indigenous community. It emphasized that the COP should also adopt measures to implement the farmers’ rights recognizing past and present contributions of local and indigenous communities that also embody their collective rights. Among others, there should also be discussions on support mechanisms for capacity building among local and indigenous communities, including the incentives to support and promote in situ conservation. As such, the delegation expressed its support to relevant recommendations of the SBSTTA, e.g., the Leipzig Global Plan of Action, and called for the immediate implementation of these programs.

On terrestrial biodiversity, the Philippine delegation called for a comprehensive study on forest-related indigenous knowledge to be undertaken by the SBSTTA, including issues on tenure arrangements impacting on forest biodiversity conservation and the value of forest biodiversity other than for economic purposes. It also expressed caution on the introduction of living modified organisms into the forest ecosystems and in the utilization of biotechnologies as strategies of conservation and utilization.

On the implementation of Article 8 (j) of the Convention on indigenous knowledge, the delegation pronounced that the implementation of the provision, particularly on the exchange of information, technical cooperation, innovations and practices involving indigenous and traditional knowledge should bear a corresponding emphasis on the protection of the rights of the indigenous and local communities over these knowledge, including the assurance of free access of these communities to said knowledge and its protection from monopoly control. The delegation also expressed the view that the term indigenous communities should not only refer to tribal or forest-based communities but also to local farming communities and fisherfolks that utilize traditional and sustainable resource use practices. Thus, knowledge, innovation and practices referred to in Article 8 (j) should not be limited to forest biodiversity but should also include agricultural and coastal and marine ecosystems. At the same time, the delegation pointed out that the implementation of Article 8 (j) should recognize the rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral or native lands and domains. The delegation emphasized that the recognition of these basic rights of indigenous peoples is indispensable in the protection and conservation of biodiversity. In relation to this, the delegation also called for a program that would raise the capacity of indigenous peoples to defend their rights, negotiate on benefits sharing, and protect indigenous knowledge and practices.

On access to genetic resources, the Philippines reiterated its position that the rules on access to ex situ collection in gene banks of multilateral institutions, including those collected prior to the effectivity of the Convention should be clarified and that these collected resources should be included within the purview of Article 15 of the Convention to the effect that countries of origin should exercise dominion over resources gathered from within their borders. In this regard, the Philippine delegation expressed its willingness to contribute in the design and formulation of access rules by presenting its own rule on bioprospecting, EO 247.

With regard to technology transfer, the Philippines expressed the view that the program to strengthen national capacities for technology should include not only the scientific or academic community, industry or bureaucracy but also the local and indigenous communities as well as the private sector and NGOs. The local and indigenous communities must be involved in the development of technological capacities especially in in situ conservation. In so doing, there must be transparency, assurance of accessibility and equitable sharing of benefits. At the same time, projects for institutional reforms and capacity building to help developing countries to consolidate and improve their technological capacities for development must be eligible for GEF funding as enabling activities and operational projects. As for the CHM, it must play a key role in advancing research and training through networking and other forms of exchanges. It must also endeavor to use other media aside from the internet that are more accessible to local communities.

On the issue of intellectual property rights, the Philippines advocated that in addition to the proposals for exploring options to accommodate traditional knowledge with existing intellectual property rights regimes, the COP should call for the development of a system recognizing and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to their genetic resources and indigenous knowledge. It added that the current intellectual property rights system is neither sufficient nor adequate to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. In particular, life forms and indigenous knowledge should not be included within the scope of the intellectual property rights system. As such, ownership and control of all information made through the CHM should remain with providers, respecting the rights of origin and indigenous and local communities. The Philippines thus called on the COP to adopt a policy requiring the disclosure of the country and community of origin and prior right in all patent applications and the appellation of origin in case of trademarks.