A Report from the First Reflection Meeting on the Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism

FNI Report 10/2011. Lysaker, FNI, 2011, 18 p.

This FNI Report summarizes the outcome of the deliberations and discussions as a first pre-preliminary discussion on the need for and modalities of a Global Multinational Benefit-sharing Mechanism. These deliberations took place during days in late March 2011, at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, according to Chatham House rules. The discussions were in no way meant to lead to any agreement or pre-determine and pre-empt the official deliberations on this issue which are scheduled to take place during the second meeting of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on ABS (ICNP-2) in 2012.

One important finding concerns the time-perspective and the overall approach to the development of a mechanism. It was suggested that the modalities of such a benefit-sharing mechanism (BsM) could employ a step-by-step approach, beginning with the identification of common ground of consensus for parts of a mechanism. A methodology of seeking common ground for developing the ideas of a global mechanism might prove helpful for countries when exploring a potential design for the mechanism.

At the reflection meeting the background for the mechanism was outlined as to capture ABS situations not already contributing to the conservation and sustainable use through contracts as is generally assumed. Several possible needs for a mechanism were explored; each of these would probably require separate discussions of their corresponding modalities if the rationale were identified and agreed upon by parties at the second ICNP or later. Overall questions raised were whether contributions should be voluntary or mandatory; whether benefits would be shared from private and/or public sectors; and whether they should be financial and/or non-financial. The main questions regarding the recipient-side discussed were: For what purpose monetary benefits shared through the mechanism may be used; who will select beneficiaries (governance of the mechanism). Although consensus was not the aim, nor achieved, there was a constructive and explorative spirit during the two days of discussion.