Biodiversity in Comoros
The four islands that make up the Comoros Archipelago – Mayotte, Grande Comoro, Moheli, Anjouan – support few but highly endemic species, including perfumed plants like vanilla, brooms, lianas and jasmine. Although often regarded as an evolving ecosystem, it is unique and has gained priority recognition globally as a biodiversity conservation hotspot.
However, these young natural resources are under threat and deteriorating due to pressure from deforestation, unsustainable land use for agriculture, poaching, and illegal trade of species. Some of the endemic species, such as the swallowtail butterfly (Graphium levassori), have been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as threatened and vulnerable. Pollution, unchecked coastal urbanization, climate change and natural disasters also contribute to the increasing vulnerability of this marine and coastal biodiversity.
Nagoya Protocol and ABS implementation
Comoros has been a Party to the Nagoya Protocol since its entry into force in October 2014, but biodiversity has not been adequately integrated into policies and strategies in the country. Administrative, legislative or policy provisions for ABS implementation are unclear and inadequate, and sectoral biodiversity institutions do not sufficiently integrate ABS into their policies. There is therefore a need to assist in the revision of the environmental policy and the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan to make them more responsive to the needs of the Islands.
Current UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project Activities
The UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project is currently working with national and international experts in Comoros to identify and draft customized legal instruments that are most appropriate for ABS and to develop guidelines for the protection of traditional knowledge. The draft ABS law is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly for adoption in October 2018.