After two weeks of intensive, often late-night negotiations and a plenary session on Friday, October 29 that lasted until 3am, the regime on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization was finally adopted. This was a major success of the meeting given that several developing countries stating early on that without an Access and Benefit Sharing regime, which would ensure that local communities and indigenous groups receive equal benefits from the use of natural resources on their land or under their management (e.g. for medicine), they would not continue to engage with the Convention.
The discussion on October 29, the last day of the meeting, started off tensely with several nations disagreeing about the way that it would be considered for adoption – the EU pressed for Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) to be considered together with the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan and Resource Mobilization, both of which were controversial, while States such as Cuba and Bolivia advocated that the documents be considered for adoption one by one. The latter approach was endorsed by the Chair of the Plenary, President Matsumoto, and though some countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia asked to record in writing that the ABS regime did not go far enough, they did not wish to stand in the way of the document being adopted if that was the majority decision.
The document on this agenda item was approved first and then followed by the Strategic Plan and then Resource Mobilization – with approval of the triad being considered by many as necessary for the success of the meeting and eliciting huge cheers in the packed meeting room after years of effort in trying to have the ABS regime passed. The final document on ABS that was adopted is L. 43 here. IUCN was strongly involved in the contact groups that discussed ABS and was thanked for their involvement in the issue.