Monday, November 23, 2009

Natural Justice Active in Montreal: Kabir Bavikatte's Report

Kabir Bavikatte supported the African Group as its legal advisor in the negotiations within the Working Group on Article 8j and the Working Group on ABS. Specifically Kabir worked with the African Group in identifying key aspects from the report of the Expert Group on Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources to be highlighted by the Working Group on 8j and to be considered in its negotiations by the Working Group on ABS. Kabir also supported the African Group in the negotiations towards developing an Ethical Code of Conduct to Ensure Respect for the Cultural and Intellectual Heritage of Indigenous and Local Communities. During the negotiations of the Working Group on ABS, Kabir specifically supported the African Group in the negotiations relating to Compliance and Traditional Knowledge elements of the potential International Regime on ABS.

Two side events on TK Commons were hosted by Natural Justice and IDLO. The format for both was the same and Kabir presented at both. Also at the side event by Brendan Tobin, Kabir presented on Human Rights and Biocultural Protocols. Natural Justice jointly hosted it with the Irish Center for Human Rights.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Close of WG ABS 8

The WG on ABS closed today, 15 November after a slow but potentially constructive week. More work is needed if the Nagoya deadline is to be met, and with that in mind, two meetings of Friends of the Co-Chairs have been scheduled for the intersessional period before ABS 9 which is to be held in Colombia in March 2010. Click here for a report of ABS 8
Picture: L-R: Harry Jonas, Barbara Lassen of GTZ, Elan Abrell and Johanna von Braun, both of Natural Justice

Natural Justice Activities at WG ABS 8, Montreal

Harry Jonas presented at a side event on bio-cultural protocols on Wednesday 11 November. The side event was introduced by Balakrishna Pisupati (UNEP-DELC) who also launched a community protocols website developed by Natural Justice. The other speakers were Ana Persic(UNESCO), Barbara Lassen (GTZ) and Brendan Tobin (Irish Centre for Human Rights). Kabir Bavikatte spoke at a side event on Thursday hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights and included presentations by Joji Carino (Tebtebba) and Brendan Tobin.
Publishing activities:
In addition, Natural Justice made three submissions to ECO, a publication of the CBD Alliance. The following are links to those articles:
1) ABS (1) Towards a traditional knowledge commons;
2) Intervention by Natural Justice on behalf of Civil Society Organizations on Capacity Building
ABSWG-8, Montreal, Canada - 9 Nov 2009
3) ABS (3) Article by Johanna von Braun and Kabir Bavikatte: No narrowing of the definition of TK
Furthermore, an article written by Natural Justice was published in Square Brackets, the CBD newsletter for civil society on biocultural community protocols.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Statement on Capacity Building

Harry Jonas made a statement in plenary on behalf of the civil society organizations present at the Working Group. The statement underscores that indigenous peoples and local communities are the lynchpin of the CBD and that they are best placed to determine the merits of any interventions on their lands or regarding their TK. In this regard, indigenous and local communities have a right to demand locally relevant capacity development.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Publishing Activity

In the latest edition, November 2009, of [Square Brackets], which is a newsletter focussing on the CBD and civil society, an article written by Natural Justice was published. The edition of the newsletter was published to coincide with the current negotiations of the Working Group on ABS. The article can be read here:
Bio-cultural Community Protocols as a Community-based Approach to Ensuring the Local Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy

Working Group on ABS

Natural Justice is at the 8th meeting of the Working Group on ABS (ABS 8) being held in Montreal. ABS 8 is addressing the nature of the regime, TK, capacity building, compliance, access and benefit sharing. Kabir Bavikatte continues to advise the African Group to ensure that the future regime is calibrated to contribute to the MDGs in Africa, including tangible environmental and social outcomes. Johanna von Braun, Elan Abrell and Harry Jonas are working within the CBD (NGO) Alliance to maintain pressure on parties to broker a comprehensive and legally binding international regime on ABS. Natural Justice will also be involved in a number of side events including on the Vilm workshop on TK, the TK commons and bio-cultural community protocols.

TK Commons Side Event

Together with the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), Natural Justice hosted a side event on the TKC. The event was introduced by Gino Cocchiaro (IDLO). Paul Odham, Lancaster University, presented on the need for a TK commons and was followed by Kabir Bavikatte who gave an overview of the functioning of the system. In the following debate, issues of compliance and trust between ILCs and the research community were highlighted.

Bio-cultural Community Protocols Side Event

Together with UNEP, Natural Justice hosted a side event on bio-cultural community protocols at the Working Group on Article 8j meeting held in Montreal in November. The event was introduced by Alphonse Kambu (UNEP-DELC) and a book on BCPs by Natural Justice, published by UNEP, was launched by Bakary Kante (UNEP-DELC). A film on BCPs was screened and was followed by presentations by: Ilse Kohler-Rollefson (LPP), Hanwant Singh and Dallibai Raika (LPPS), Harry Jonas and Kabir Bavikatte (Natural Justice) and Lucy Mulenkei (Indigenous Information Network).
Picture: Harry Jonas, left, at the BCP side event

Working Group on Article 8j of the CBD

Elan Abrell, Kabir Bavikatte and Harry Jonas are in Montreal at the 6th meeting of the Working Group on Article 8j. Natural Justice will host two side events, one on bio-cultural community protocols and one on the TK commons, launching books on the respective subjects at both. Kabir Bavikatte will be advising the African Group, specifically on the provision of views to the Ad hoc WG on ABS.
Picture: Kabir Bavikatte, left, discusses the African Text.

Indian Delegation Visits K2C

Harry Jonas facilitated a visit by a delegation from the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Foundation for the Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (Bangalore) as part of UNDP’s South-South cooperation framework to foster information exchange on the conservation of medicinal plants. The delegation had a number of meetings including with the Department of Science and Technology, the K2C Biosphere Committee and the executive of the Bushbuckridge Traditional Healers. The trip culminated with a meeting with Natural Justice, at which the organization was offered to become the South African nodal centre for future cooperation on ABS-related activities.