Thank you Mr. Facilitator,
We welcome the overwhelming consensus in favour of transparency. We just wish to comment on paragraphs 4 and 5. Transparency can be lost in practice if provisions are too restrictive or if too much material is kept confidential.
On paragraph 4, we join the EU in suggesting deletion of the word “substantive”. Quite apart from that it introduces what we suggest is an unnecessary qualifier, it may exclude some forms of cultural or traditional contributions so we may lose contributions of traditional knowledge.
In paragraph 5, we want to comment on the issue of confidential information. We support the suggestions of Trinidad and Tobago. We don’t believe it is appropriate to have a broad exception for ‘non-public information’ or for “information that would undermine intellectual property rights”,nor for information that would undermine “other interests”. This exception is, we suggest, far too broad and would allow the withholding of almost anything under the heading of “other interests”. We support Norway on this.
Instead, we suggest that environmental information should not be kept confidential. The Convention in Article 14 of Annex 3 specifically exempts data on the protection of the marine environment from confidentiality. Instead, we suggest that the COP be empowered to develop standards, guidelines and procedures and submit the following wording after “disclose”. “Commercially confidential information according to standards and guidelines established by the COP, and subject to any review procedures recommended by the COP”.
We also suggest that there should also be provision for confidential information to be considered by bodies such as the Scientific Body, subject to appropriate safeguards. This is a procedure used in other bodies.