De-risking investments in Africa’s bio-economies and adding values to its biological and genetic resources at the 2nd Pan African COP
12 Jul 2019
A wide array of development practitioners and experts, representing state actors, researchers and academia, private sector, local communities, civil society and the media gathered this week in Seychelles for the 2nd edition of the Pan African Community of Practice Series “Doing sustainable business in Africa: tools and innovations for the valorization of genetic resources to unlock the potential of Africa’s bio-economy and accelerate the achievement of the sustainable development goals” to discuss and co-design innovative solutions to add values to Africa’s biological and genetic resources and stimulate investments in Africa’s bio-economies.
Following the 1st edition “The Road to COP14” held in Kigali on August 2018, this 2nd edition focused on tools and good practices to add values to Africa’s biological and genetic resources by developing meaningful valorization strategies to foster bio-discovery partnerships, attract investments along bottom-up value chains and yield broader development dividends to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Participants shared their home-grown solutions, lessons learned and actionable recommendations on how benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources can be leveraged as meaningful investments to diversify national economies, but also as innovative means to unleash the potential of Africa’s bio-economies. An innovation lab using issues mapping and experimentation inspired from UNDP’s Accelerator labs allowed the participants to visualize challenges and opportunities to develop successful valorization strategies which in return will add values to Africa’s genetic resources and de-risk investments in its economies.
Capacity building on ABS
As many African countries have now taken concrete measures to draft and finalize their legal instruments and regulations on Access and Benefit Sharing, tools and innovations such as the “Valorization Workbook” featuring the “Time for ACTION! Valorization Tool and the “Gender Toolkit” featuring the “MIND Your Step! Gender Tool” were presented to support various country teams build critical capacities to translate their biopotential and domestic ABS measures into biodiscovery partnerships, business opportunities and broader development dividends.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Roland Alcindor, UNDP’s Program manager in Seychelles, said that “the focus is shifting more towards engineering Access and Benefit Sharing partnerships by investing in capacity building to draft good contracts, designing user-friendly and efficient monitoring systems, and by boosting the functionality of domestic ABS regimes which effectiveness will be measured by their legal certainty, clarity, ease of doing business and the impact of subsequent ABS partnerships on economies, development and environment”.
In his welcoming remarks, His Excellency Mr. Wallace Cosgrow, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change in the Republic of Seychelles, highlighted the importance of Africa’s bio-economies for the achievement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. “Africa is rich, our countries are endowed with abundant natural resources. From blue economy to wildlife economy, Africa’s bio-economies can have a transformative impact on our development. An interesting question for all of us here today is: what are the best business models for Africa’s bio-economies, based on biological and genetic resources, to contribute to closing the financial gap needed for the SDGs?”.
A transformational change
Africa’s bio-economies can enable a transformational change to up-lift people from poverty, boost economic growth while ensuring that Africa’s biological and genetic resources are used sustainably. Many examples were presented on how a bio-economy development pathway for Africa, can be fulfilled by putting in place sound bio-sciences’ policies to foster knowledge-driven bio-innovations which translate into a wide range of R&D based products and services.
The 2nd edition of the Pan African Community of Practice on Access and Benefit Sharing aimed to support the participating delegation from 9 African countries to build a robust business case to de-risk investments and attract financial flows to add values to Africa’s biological and genetic resources.
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