On 8 March 2012, the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) hosted an international symposium on “Domestic Measures to Implement the Obligations under the Nagoya Protocol” at UNU headquarters in Tokyo. The symposium, co-organized by UNU in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan (MOFA), was followed on 9 March by an informal meeting on the “Effective Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol”.
The Nagoya Protocol is a landmark agreement in the international governance of biodiversity. It was adopted in October 2010 at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) in Nagoya Japan, after six years of intense negotiations. The Protocol operationalizes one of the key objectives of the Convention on Biodiversity, which is to provide a framework for the equitable access and sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources in both user and provider countries.
The protocol leaves the framing and implementation of domestic measures to the discretion of each party. Thus, this symposium was held to provide a forum for discussion and sharing of experiences between signatory countries on relevant domestic measures.
After welcoming remarks from Hiroshi Minami of MOFA and UNU Vice-Rector Kazuhiko Takeuchi, the keynote lecture was delivered by Valerie Normand of the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity. She gave participants an overview of what has been done since the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol in terms of supporting its ratification and entry into force, as well as the activities that had been carried out by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol in preparation for upcoming meetings. She also highlighted the key obligations of parties under the agreement as a background for discussion during the symposium.
Normand stated that the symposium and meeting “provide[d] a key opportunity to discuss challenges related to implementation, to exchange information on developments at the national level with the view to learning from the respective experiences of parties of building bridges and mutual trust as a basis for further collaboration, in the hope that the Nagoya Protocol can indeed contribute to certainty to the benefit of both providers and users”.
The following sessions involved presentations by representatives of a number of signatory countries outlining existing legislation and regulations within their respective countries or, where these do not yet exist, the current direction of internal discussion and challenges related to these matters. The final session of the symposium involved a panel discussion in which participants were able to voice concerns and discuss specific issues.
The informal meeting the following day provided an opportunity to continue the discussions of the previous day. Participants talked over the specifics of key articles of the protocol, particularly those relating to compliance and access.
A number of participants expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of the two-day event, saying that it had exceeded their expectations in terms of building mutual trust and an atmosphere conducive to working together on the many specifics and challenges involved in implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.