UNDP hosts Access and Benefit Sharing inception workshop

Nov 9, 2017

UNDP Botswana in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism (MENT) through the Department of Environmental Affairs hosted an Inception Workshop for the project “Strengthening human resources, legal frameworks, and institutional capacities to implement the Nagoya Protocol.” This is a three-year project that specifically aims at assisting countries in the development and strengthening of their national Access and Benefit Sharing frameworks, human resources, and administrative capabilities to implement the Nagoya Protocol.

When opening the workshop, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Mr Botshoma informed the workshop participants that Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed by His Excellency Lt. Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama in 2010 as an indication of Botswana’s commitment towards the attainment of the objectives of the CBD.  The project seeks to achieve this by a) strengthening the legal, policy and institutional capacity to develop national ABS frameworks; b) building trust between users and providers of genetic resources to facilitate the identification of bio-discovery efforts; and c) Strengthening the capacity of local communities to contribute to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol (NP).

In her opening Remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Jacinta Barrins, stated “it is important for all stakeholders to have a common understanding of what the Nagoya Protocol seeks to achieve. The objectives of the Nagoya Protocol, if simplified, speaks to who owns the resource; how they allow for the resource to be accessed and what benefits they get from the use of those resources.”

The participants at the inception workshop appreciated the overarching objective of the project and provided guidance on the activities that could be undertaken to deliver the desired outputs and results. Some of the issues tabled by participants as part of the discussions included the following:

1.The benefit sharing mechanism should clearly articulate how the communities will be supported to document and preserve their indigenous knowledge; what type of benefits will be sought and how these will be distributed.

2.Facilitating research should form a big part of the project as a way of ensuring that there is addition of value to resources.

3.In a bid to facilitate economic development, the drafting of MAT and PIC should support youth empowerment and aim at increasing the benefits in terms of percentages of the proceeds.

4.Communities and Community Based Organisations should be involved from the onset to capacitate them to negotiate agreements

5.There is need to take cognisance of the stipulated minimum requirements by the Nagoya Protocol in terms of commercial, environmental and social aspects. It is therefore imperative to have multi stakeholder involvement in the development of the National ABS legislation and framework.

6.The Competent National Authority (CNA) has to ensure compliance with NP clauses relating to skill transfer, accessibility, monitoring and compliance as per the requirements of the ABS Clearing House Mechanisms.