2 April 2009Some 500 participants gathered in Paris today to begin talks aimed at finalizing a pact which will allow international researchers and scientists access to plant and animal genetic resources, in compliance with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD had a 2010 target date for achieving a significant reduction in the rate of loss of the world’s plant and animal species at the global, regional and national level, and is the international framework for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of its benefits.The CBD, which is signed by 191 States, recognizes the sovereignty of nations over their natural resources, and parties to the Convention have the authority to determine physical access to genetic resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties also have the obligation to take appropriate measures to ensure the sharing of benefits derived from the use of their genetic resources. Access to these resources in exchange for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits can contribute to further research and development with a positive impact on human well-being through the use of genetic resources in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agriculture among other sectors.The seventh meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing, which concludes on 8 April, is the first of three mandated by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD to finalize the negotiation of the international regime before their next meeting in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.