' Biological resources ' includes genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, popula-
tions, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with actual or potential use or value
for humanity. …
' Genetic material ' means any material of plant, animal, microbial or other origin contain-
ing functional units of heredity (CBD 1992 : article 2).
Annex I of the CBD proposes a number of explanations relevant to identi-
fication and monitoring. It is important here to note that Annex 1 also identifies
'genomes and genes of social, scientific and economic importance' to be moni-
tored (CBD 1992 : annex I).
When deciding to open negotiations on the CBD, the UNEP Governing Council
specifically mandated that the convention should be 'broad in scope' (Miller et al.
1984 ). The implications of this were most evident in the early stages of negotiat-
ing; for instance, in early drafts the concept of 'access' was included, but only in the
context of the promotion, funding and access of researchers. Researchers were to get
'priority access' to the wildlife of other countries, but first they had to get permis-
sion. Virtually from the moment this statement was drafted, most of the pre-discus-
sion team was opposed to it, as they believed that requiring permission would give
developing countries a monopoly on wildlife. There were others in the early negotia-
tions, however, who argued that developing countries would not agree to the conven-
tion without some recognition of their rights. This marked the beginning of ABS.
The expression 'access' remained in the UNEP document, but now with a focus
on access to 'biodiversity' or 'genetic materials' (a term originally defined to mean
essentially 'biological specimens'). The first UNEP meeting in 1989 was attended
by invited experts and called an 'expert group'. It discussed and then abandoned
the idea of the 'rationalization' of existing conventions, but continued to focus on
the protection of wild genetic material, protected areas, the concerns of an advisory
committee on the conservation of biological diversity in situ, and 'ecosystems' rele-
vant to wild genetic material. Regarding ABS, only the phrase 'any material of plant,
animal or microbial origin' was used. This draft did not distinguish between biologi-
cal resources, genetic resources and biological diversity; all were included in ABS.
At the same time, the concept of benefit sharing entered the negotiating arena.
The initial focus was on the transfer of technology, and many discussions were
held to identify which technologies should be transferred and how. This was
intended not to be solely conservation technology, but also to include technolo-
gies that could enable developing countries to get a higher level of value from the
sustainable use of their biological resources. At the time, there were some detailed
discussions on 'biotechnology', and many attempts were made to define this term
in detail, but a definition was never actually adopted, and as a result the term was
not included in the final draft of the CBD.
Towards the end of the formal negotiations (a few months before the UN
Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the 'Rio Earth