SHARM EL-SHEIKH - Africans are concerned about the continent’s biological and genetic resources being shipped from the continent to other parts of the world – without any benefits to the owners of these biological and genetic resources in African.
This was said by Coletha Ruhamya when she delivered the position statement of Africa on the 17th of last month at the official opening of the14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was held in Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt) from the 17th - 29th of November.
“We are slowly losing these valuable resources, ending up in other parts of the world without fair benefits to Africa. Biodiversity is our way of life,” said Ruhamya, who is a Director of Research and Environmental Planning at Rwanda Environment Management Authority.
She said African Ministerial Summit in Biodiversity (which preceded the conference) has adopted the Pan-African Agenda on Ecosystem Restoration for Increased Resilience, which is “a demonstration of where the continent stands and where it wants to go.”
Ruhamya said Africa is committed to the implementation of the CBD and its protocols, which are the Cartagena Protocol on Biodiversity and Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing Arising from the utilisation of Genetic Resources and Related Traditional Knowledge. She said resource mobilisation is very important to the successful implementation of the CBD, adding that apart from loss of biodiversity, Africa is also facing the challenge of climate change.
Officially opening the conference, Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, said the CBD did not fully mobilise the international community to effectively preserve biodiversity due to mainstreaming. He called for the integration of the CBD objectives across sectors.