Access and Benefit Sharing Between Nepal and India

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The Nepali delegation and participants at the South-South Dialogue on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing exchange.

As part of transboundary cooperation within Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiatives (KSLCDI), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) facilitated a seven-day learning exchange visit of Nepal officials to India on access and benefit sharing (ABS). The delegation included members of the task force at the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MFSC) to formulate parliamentary legislative instruments on ABS and facilitate the ABS ratification process. 

Nepal’s eleven-member delegation, headed by the joint secretary and chief of the environment and biodiversity division at the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MFSC) visited Indian state Uttarakhand, and New Delhi to gather Indian experiences on implementing ABS under the Indian Biodiversity Act and Nagoya protocol. 

Nepali delegation with Hon’ble Chief Minister, Uttarakhand state of India, Shri Harish Rawat 

A two-day formal workshop was organised in partnership with State Biodiversity Board, Uttarakhand, to share on Indian legislative ABS, its status, and the Nagoya ratification process. The Nepali delegation comprising twelve representatives from universities also participated the workshop. The workshop was inaugurated by M C Ghildiyal, an advisor to the Supreme Court of India. Dr Rakesh Shah, Chairperson, State Biodiversity Board highlighted on Indian experiences on ABS implementation. 

The delegation also made a courtesy call to Chief Minister of Uttarakhand state of India, Shri Harish Rawat. During the meeting, Rawat welcomed the Nepali delegation and emphasised the need of bilateral and transboundary cooperation between neighbouring countries for the wellbeing of the environment and communities. 

The Nepalese delegation observes biodiversity management committee (BMC), its activities on conserving genetic and biological resources in Dudhai area. A similar field visit program was organized to Dhanalti to get in hand knowledge on eco restoration, locally managed ecological management activities.   

Nepali delegation in Dudhai BMC, field observation 

In New Delhi, the Nepali delegation met and discussed on issues related on ABS and bilateral cooperation with senior officials at the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), including Mr Hem Pande, Special secretary and Dr Sujata Arora.  Mr Hem Pandey shared Indian experiences on ABS implementation under the provision of Nagoyo protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and India’s legislative instrument supporting access to genetic resources and benefit sharing. Mr Pandey highlighted the need of inter-provincial coordination on effective implementation of ABS. 

This exchange learning visit helps Nepali officials to understand possible mechanism to be included in proposed ABS bill in Nepal and steps to be considered in ratification process for Nagoya protocol. In particular, this exchange visits provide in depth understanding on possible provision while Nepal’s preparation for the federal structure. 

For details: Laxmi Dutt Bhatta