Government Officials get Ready to Regulate the use of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge in Samoa.

Government Officials get Ready to Regulate the use of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge in Samoa.

13 Nov 2019

Views of Fangaloa natural reserve in Upolu

Under the UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), a selected team of officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (Division of Environment and Conservation) were capacitated in the use of the ABS Clearing House and Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources (TKAGR) Database.

Mr. Seumaloisalafai Afele Faiilagi, Assistant Chief Executive Officer on his opening remarks, highlighted the importance of this project “to safeguard our resources and ensure that commercially successful products from Genetic Research associated to our Traditional Knowledge can bring long term benefits back to our communities and maintain healthy ecosystems that provide a better livelihoods for all Samoans”.

“Thanks to this new database”, added Mr. Seumaloisalafai “researchers from around the world will be welcomed to legally conduct their work in our country while ensuring the equitable sharing of future benefits”.

Mr Chris Brown trains local officials in the use of the new TKAGR ABS CH database

Ms. Czarina I. Stowers, Principal Terrestrial Officer added that

“thanks to this project, Samoa will safeguard, sustain and conserve its Genetic Resources and associated Traditional Knowledge and invites any research to follow the new process“

The database, named the ABS Clearing House has been developed by the Brown Systech, Consultancy and the training conducted by his CEO, Mr. Toleafoa Chris Brown.

Mr. Toleafoa explained that the purpose of his work was to provide

“a secure platform to protect TK and ABS cases in addition to ease facilitation of the process, maintain legal certainty for Samoa and to ensure transparency between users and providers of TKAGR”

But the tool will also add value to Samoan’s TKAGR resources to attract the best researchers worldwide as well as tracking and monitoring mechanisms to ensure that benefits are shared back with the communities. The Database will be the central point for researches to lodge their applications and will also provide reports and analysis data.Each user will have a different level of access to the database according to their profiles, which include the National Focal Point, the Competent National Authority and researches among others, and some typical actions will include Document Management and Data analysis.
Once an application is received, a technical review will be conducted by the Terrestrial Section of MNRE for CEO’s approval. If the research is approved and the resources to use are found in the local communities a letter of request will be given to the MWCSD for the approval of village mayors to grant access. If access is approved, a Letter of Agreement –which consist of Mutually agreed terms which shall be signed by the Researcher and the Government.
This is another advantage of the Database, that is, to ensure and keep track of the Process so that all parties involved to ensure equitable sharing of any arising benefits.

Ms Czarina Stowers MNRE project manager for ABS discusses the TKAGR CH database with the team

To access Samoa´s Clearing House ABS Database, click here.


Related publications:

Samoa Presents Draft Report of Traditional Knowledge and Guidelines on ABS

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Czarina Stowers, Project Manager, Division of Conservation and Environment of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE-DEC)

Mr. Jeffery Leung Wai, Programme Analys – Environment and Climate Change Unit, United Nations Development Programme

Mr. Alvaro Hoyos Ramos (, Communications Specialists, UNDP Samoa


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