Nature based solutions for sustainable development: Dominican Republic´s ABS biodiscovery project
In the framework of the International Day for Biological Diversity, the UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project celebrates ABS nature based solutions that contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as this Dominican Republic biodiscovery case that elevates scorpion venom from a hazard to a tool in cancer therapy.
This biodiscovery project takes place in the Neiba Community, located in the Southwest of the Dominican Republic, 180 km west of Santo Domingo, where a liquid from scorpion (Buthidae family, Rhopalurus princeps and R. abudi ) venom has been traditionally used on a daily basis to relieve bone ailments. The Medolife international pharmaceutical company was interested in this product and requested a permit to investigate its potential use from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. The permit was granted in 2008 and entomologist Kelvin Guerrero participated as a researcher and national counterpart.
The venom has beneficial effects in the treatment of cancers such as prostate, breast, brain, kidney and cervical. Advanced innovations by the company would help develop medicinal products that can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, boost immune response, prevent cancer and tumor growth, treat cancer, minimize negative biological response to chemotherapy and radiation treatment, increase appetite and body mass during chemotherapy and radiation treatment and improve the quality of sleep.
This biodiscovery case has contributed to (the implementation of the) SDGs primarily in terms of reducing poverty (1) and generating jobs for the community (8), which translates into raising the quality of life of the inhabitants of the area (15). This project also supports SDG (2) by fighting extreme hunger and malnutrition which are obstacles for development as well as SDG (5) since at least 30% of the direct jobs generated will be for people from the community of Neiba, specially women already included within the percentage of those employed by the project.
Learn more about this ABS biodiscovery case and its contributions to sustainable development here.