Access to genetic resources and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) in the country is provisionally managed with the Ministerial Resolution approved in November 2017.
Biodiversity in Uruguay
Uruguay is located in a biogeographic transition area of South America, with an important matrix of the Pampas Province and intrusions of the Chaqueña and Paranaense Provinces. This biogeographic confluence gives rise to grasslands interspersed with wetlands, native forests (gallery, riverside, hill, parks and palm groves), and an important water extension, including coastal lagoons. Uruguay has eco-regional, eco-systemic and genetic biodiversity, with species that are of global importance. The country is a transitional zone at the southern fringes of important high species richness sites.
Knowledge about Uruguay’s biodiversity varies; some areas are relatively well known while others have only just begun to be studied. Therefore, the exact numbers of native species, particularly of insects and microorganisms, is not yet known.
Nagoya Protocol and ABS Implementation
Uruguay has been a Party to the Nagoya Protocol since October 2014. Access to genetic resources and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) in the country is provisionally managed with the Ministerial Resolution approved in November 2017 and other supporting documents approved in April 2018 for requesting access by competent authorities. Some legal reforms and a more comprehensive ABS framework is being developed with the leadership of the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan published in 2016 estimates that by 2018 agreements would have been reached for the development of the national regulatory framework on access and conservation of genetic resources, in harmony with the International Agreements and Treaties assumed by the country.
Current UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project Activities
Uruguay is at the early stages in the development of a legal framework for implementing the Nagoya Protocol. The UNDP-GEF Global ABS project is supporting the establishment of access procedures for implementing the Ministerial Resolution and the development of a more robust and comprehensive legal framework for implementing ABS. The project is supporting actions to strengthen partnerships and collaborations among the different stakeholders, particularly with the research institutions. Efforts are being made to strengthen coordination and clarify roles for coherent project implementation.
The project is facilitating actions to identify local communities in the country, and to identify and document relevant traditional knowledge associated to genetic resources held by those communities. Support will be provided for awareness-raising, advocacy and training to increase understanding of the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol and ABS to facilitate sustainable implementation.