WINDHOEK - Local communities and indigenous people in Africa will converge in South Africa next month to exchange ideas as to how best they can fairly and equitably benefit from their genetic resources and related traditional knowledge.
The five-day meeting is organized by the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Capacity Development Initiative in collaboration with the Natural Justice and Indigenous Information Network.
According to the ABS Capacity Development Initiative, indigenous people and local communities are the custodians of their lands and natural resources – and traditional knowledge and practices, embedded in their cultural heritage, play an important role in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as do their customary laws and local governance structures.
The meeting is part of the global efforts towards the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (of the Convention), which calls for fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from the commercial utilization of genetic resources and related traditional knowledge.
The Nagoya Protocol, therefore, holds the potential for the realization of the rights of indigenous people and local communities to their resources and knowledge, the generation of local benefits from the use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge and better recognition of the customary governance and cultural values of indigenous people and local communities.
The gathering in South Africa will be held against the background that peer-to-peer learning exchanges among experts and practitioners in communities are an effective and engaging approach to catalyze the dissemination of ideas.
The meeting is aimed at increasing the understanding of the relevant frameworks including the CBD, NP and the advances in their implementation and exchange, and discuss the experiences of participants from other countries, amongst others.
The meeting will be hosted by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and will run from 3 - 7 September. Attending will be representative people and local communities, civil society organizations and holders of traditional knowledge from countries in Africa and elsewhere.
Namibia is a party to the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol and will also send representatives of indigenous people and local communities to the meeting.