COP 4 Decision IV/8
Retired sections: paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 6(d).

Access and benefit-sharing

The Conference of the Parties,

1. Requests the inter-sessional open-ended meeting referred to in decision IV/16, paragraph 2, to explore options for access and benefit­sharing mechanisms and to start work on paragraph 10 of decision IV/15 and to make recommendations for future work;

2. Requests the Executive Secretary to invite information from Parties and relevant organizations in time for the inter-sessional meeting in respect of those ex situ collections which were acquired prior to the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity and which are not addressed by the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture of the Food and Agriculture Organization, to help the inter-sessional meeting to make recommendations to the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties for future work on resolving the issue of such ex situ collections, with due regard to the provisions of the Convention;

3. Decides to establish a regionally balanced panel of experts appointed by Governments, composed of representatives from the private and the public sectors as well as representatives of indigenous and local communities, operating in accordance with decisions II/15, III/11 and III/15, under the Conference of the Parties and reporting to its next meeting. The mandate of this panel would be to draw upon all relevant sources, including legislative, policy and administrative measures, best practices and case­studies on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing arising from the use of those genetic resources, including the whole range of biotechnology, in the development of a common understanding of basic concepts and to explore all options for access and benefit-sharing on mutually agreed terms including guiding principles, guidelines, and codes of best practice for access and benefit-sharing arrangements. These options might address, inter alia, the elements set out in the annex to the present decision;

4. Requests the financial mechanism to give special emphasis to the following programme priorities to fund initiatives by eligible Parties:

(a) Stock-taking activities, such as, for example, assessments of current legislative, administrative, and policy measures on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing, evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of a country's institutional and human capacity, and promotion of consensus-building among its different stakeholders; and, for those developing country Parties that have identified arrangements for benefit-sharing as a national priority;

(b) Formulation of access and benefit-sharing mechanisms at the national, subregional and regional level including monitoring and incentive measures;

(c) Capacity-building for measures on access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits, including capacity-building for economic valuation of genetic resources;

(d) Within biodiversity projects, other specific benefit-sharing initiatives, such as support for entrepreneurial developments by local and indigenous communities, facilitation of financial sustainability of projects promoting the sustainable use of genetic resources, and appropriate targeted research components;

5. Invites all relevant organizations and the private sector to support efforts by Parties and Governments to develop and promote legislative or administrative measures, policies and programmes which facilitate the distribution of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources on mutually agreed terms and to update the Executive Secretary on a regular basis regarding their activities and experiences;

6. Requests the Executive Secretary:

(a) To explore the possibility of linking the clearing-house mechanism with relevant international and other organizations to access publicly available information on intellectual property rights which are based on biological resources and to report on the progress made on this matter to the Conference of the Parties at its fifth meeting;

(b) To compile information on access and benefit-sharing arrangements and to disseminate such information in a standardized format through the clearing-house mechanism;

(c) To facilitate the exchange of information related to access and benefit-sharing through appropriate means such as the clearing-house mechanism;

(d) To prepare a background document on the review of implementation of measures to promote and advance benefit-sharing arrangements, based on the experiences submitted by Parties, Governments and relevant organizations.


1. Prior informed consent in provider countries for access to genetic resources and research and development.

2. Clear, established mechanisms to provide such consent, including, inter alia, legislative, administrative and policy measures, as appropriate.

3. Reference to the country of origin, where available, in relevant publications and patent applications.

4. Mutually agreed terms including on benefit-sharing and intellectual property rights and technology transfer, where appropriate.

5. Efficient permitting and regulatory procedures that avoid burdensome procedures involving high transaction costs.

6. Incentive measures to encourage the conclusion of contractual partnerships.