Regional Expert Workshop on “Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing in the Hindu Kush Himalaya”

   TwitCount

Background

International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is working in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region for the last 29 years. Since the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1993 the Centre is supporting the implementation of the CBD in its member states. Since then the Centre has also been engaged in the assessment of convention implementation in the HKH region, developing policies related biodiversity corridor development and assessing the management effectiveness of protected areas. 

With regards to access and benefit sharing (ABS), since 2004 the Centre is supporting awareness raising and capacity development for the effective implementation of the third objective of the CBD, i.e. the sharing of benefits generated from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge at the policy as well as at the community level. From the year 2012, the Centre is involved in promoting ABS processes stipulated in the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol in the HKH region particularly in awareness raising and capacity building in collaboration with its partners in the member countries.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their utilization, was agreed in 2010 at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the CBD, So far 19 countries have ratified and 93 have signed the agreement. In regards to the HKH region, only three countries have become signatories which include Bangladesh, Bhutan and India, and India has ratified. The remaining countries are due to move forward with processes which will merge at the national level signing and ratifying. 

In pursuance of decision XI/1 of the Conference of the Parties, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in collaboration with its different partners and parties is engaged globally in organising capacity-building workshop on the 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 during 2013 with a view to early entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS. Nagoya Protocol had a great and distinguished value. Currently there is no other option to protect and regulate genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge other then ratifying and legislating domestic laws. In this line the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity is committed to assisting Parties in their efforts towards the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol. Timely entry into force of the protocol is important. 

There are still many areas of complexities in which the regional member countries in the HKH region needs to be aware for the ratification and implementation of the protocol. There exists a variety of legal dimensions and instruments in the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge at the national as well as international level. These include administrative law; property law; intellectual property law; environmental law; contract law, local area administration law and many others. Although the protocol does not regulate the use of genetic resources in all respects, there is a need for the national governments to closely look upon the most fundamental issues including the TK across the trans-boundary areas. In addition there is also a need for the Member States to become signatories and to timely ratify and implement the Protocol. ICIMOD is working on the transboundary areas in the HKH region. Work on access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge has begun in some of the transboundary landscapes. For this reason a regional workshop to raise awareness and discuss the issues related to ABS and the Nagoya protocol is organized during March 2014 in collaboration with the CBD secretariat.

Objectives

The objective of the workshop is to raise awareness and build the capacity of participating countries on the Nagoya Protocol and provide an opportunity to exchange experiences and lessons learnt in preparing for its ratification and implementation

Participants

The workshop will be attended by representatives from the following countries. Parties from the HKH countries (Afghanistan , Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan) will be invited to nominate their representative to participate in the workshop. Parties will be requested to nominate representatives that are actively involved in the ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in their respective country. In addition, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), representatives of ICIMOD’S lead implementing partners, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative of GIZ, Some academicians, resource person from India and China, some ILC representatives from ICIMOD pilot sites will participate in the workshop. ICIMOD and the Secretariat will support the cost of participation of representatives from each country. There will be an estimated 50 participants including from ICIMOD and secretariat.

Expected Outcome

By the end of this workshop, the participants will have clear ideas on the important issues relevant to the implementation of the protocol. The parties will discuss on the relevant articles for mutual benefits sharing from genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in general and specifically along the trans-boundary areas.