Honduras has been a Party to the Nagoya Protocol since 2014, but the country has no specific legal framework for ABS implementation.
Biodiversity in Honduras
Honduras is a convergence of the tropical and subtropical ecosystems and a part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot. The country’s ecosystems hold terrestrial, marine and coastal, and freshwater biological resources as well as endemic species that are of global significance. Honduras’ biodiversity is yet to be fully explored, as little is known about the viability of the country’s natural biodiversity populations and the ecological integrity of the ecosystems. Apart from current species being used in agriculture and animal husbandry, this shortage of information has hindered the development and implementation of economically viable and environmentally sound income-generating programmes, including the use of genetic resources, in the country.
Although nearly 25 percent of the surface area of Honduras is protected, there are major threats to biodiversity, including deforestation due to logging, forest fires, illegal hunting, uncontrolled extraction of forest resources, the introduction of alien species, pollution mainly by heavy metals from mining activities, urban sprawl, and the clearing of land for agriculture. These threats add up to aggravate the cumulative effects of climate change.
Nagoya Protocol and ABS Implementation
Honduras has been a Party to the Nagoya Protocol since 2014, but the country has no specific legal framework for ABS implementation. Efforts to develop a legal framework are still at the preliminary stages. There are however some provisions in the Constitution that relate to general implementation of the Protocol and other international conventions that are in force in the country. These are effective starting points for project implementation in the country.
Current UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project Activities
The Global ABS Project is assisting Honduras to implement priority activities identified by stakeholders, which include the establishment of a comprehensive legal framework, development of a draft legislation on biodiversity, development of a simple and effective ABS implementation system with appropriate procedures, plans and regulations. The project is supporting partnerships strengthening to build trust and gain political and community support.
Efforts are being made to increase awareness about the benefits and opportunities for the country in implementing ABS effectively. Attention is being paid to helping indigenous peoples and local communities understand their rights and privileges relating to biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.
Training activities have focused on helping lawyers, policymakers and relevant government staff to understand the objectives and obligations of the Nagoya Protocol in the context of ABS so they can draft effective laws and guidelines and enforce compliance. Through regular dialogues with key stakeholders, current and potential challenges to implementation are being discussed to ensure smooth implementation of activities at different levels.