• July 16th, 2019
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More capacity development is needed in the ABS regime

Absalom Shigwedha

WINDHOEK - Local and indigenous communities around the world still need more training on how they can fairly and equitably derive benefits from genetic resources and related traditional knowledge.

The 2010 Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) provides for this.

This was one of the final statements made at the just-ended international meeting for indigenous and local communities to exchange ideas on how best they can benefit from their genetic resources and related traditional knowledge held in South Africa recently.

Lazarus //Khairabeb, who was one of Namibia’s representatives at the meeting, said after assessing the issues as to what has worked, what has not, challenges and gaps, the meeting agreed that there is a need for more capacity development initiatives for the local and indigenous people to fully understand these issues.

//Khairabeb said the meeting also concluded that there is a need for the establishment of centres of excellence to find the interface between traditional knowledge and science. He explained that meeting dwelled on whether Biocultural Protocols (BCP) that are in place and has entered into an agreement on access and benefit-sharing agreements with companies, has been successful in terms of benefit sharing and what can be done to deal with problems which caused delays in establishing Biocultural Protocols in some countries.

“We also concluded that there is a need for the development of models for implementation, policy advocacy and community to community exchange programmes on issues of access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable benefits arising from their commercial use and related traditional knowledge,” he told New Era last week.

Held in South Africa early September, this community-to-community meeting was part of the global efforts towards the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, which calls for the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from the commercial use of genetic resources and related traditional knowledge.

The meeting was organised by the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Capacity Development Initiative in collaboration with Natural Justice and the Indigenous Information Network. 

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.

According to the ABS Capacity Development Initiative, the Nagoya Protocol holds the potential for the realisation 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 meeting was aimed at increasing the understanding of the relevant frameworks including the CBD, Nagoya Protocol, the advances in their implementation and exchange and discuss the experiences of participants from other countries, amongst others.

It was hosted by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and was attended by representative people and local communities, civil society organisation and holders of traditional knowledge from around the world. 
The first community-to-community meeting on ABS issues was held in India in 2015. Namibia is a party to the Convention on Biodiversity and the Nagoya Protocol.

New Era Reporter
2018-10-01 09:18:10 9 months ago

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