Inclusive Engagement Essential for Real Benefits from Genetic Resources: South African Stakeholders Re-echo
18 Apr 2018
Benefits from genetic resources belong to everyone and only an inclusive engagement, with all stakeholders working closely together, can assure real benefits and sustainable management of the resources.
Stakeholders at the national inception workshop in South Africa for the project “Strengthening Human Resources, Legal Frameworks and Institutional Capacities to Implement the Nagoya Protocol” (UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project) have re-echoed the need for all stakeholders to work together for real access to benefits from the use of genetic resources.
“From this workshop we have heard of the need for inclusivity. UNDP supports inclusivity and full participation of all relevant stakeholders – the communities, who are the rights holders, the research and academic organizations, biotechnology companies, civil society organizations, and the others. We believe in ‘leaving no one behind’. There should be an all-inclusive engagement for real benefits,” said Dr. Janice Golding, Programme Manager, Energy and Environment at UNDP.
The workshop, held on 12 April 2018 in Pretoria, featured presentations and discussions on the concept of Access to Benefit-Sharing (ABS), the objectives of the Global ABS Project and the implementation plan for South Africa.
“According to its title the Global ABS Project intends to be a real gateway to supporting implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and addressing the challenges associated with the development and implementation of the legislation on bioprospecting, biotrade, access, and benefit-sharing in South Africa,” said Ms. Wadzanayi Mandivenyi, Chief Director, Biodiversity Monitoring Specialist Services on behalf of the Deputy Director-General, Biodiversity and Conservation at the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
Nearly 40 stakeholders, representing the DEA, local and indigenous communities, non-governmental organisations, South African National Parks, the Biodiversity Institute, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, and UNDP, participated in the workshop.
Participants had opportunity to share experiences and perspectives to support project implementation and were encouraged to hold further consultations with other stakeholders on the different components of the project.
South Africa was among the first countries to ratify the Nagoya Protocol and establish legislation for access and benefit sharing. Discussions were held in the context of national policies and guidelines on bioprospecting and benefit-sharing and other biodiversity projects already existing in the country.
This workshop officially kicks off activities for the UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project in South Africa under the coordination of the DEA.
“South Africa is one of the first countries to regulate the bioprospecting and biotrade sectors to promote conservation and sustainable use of indigenous biological resources and their associated traditional knowledge,” said Ms. Mandivenyi.
She thanked GEF and UNDP for providing funds and technical support for the project and all stakeholders for entrusting DEA with the responsibility of coordinating the project in the country.
The UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project is being implemented over a three-year period to assist 24 participating countries in developing and strengthening their national ABS frameworks, human resources and administrative capabilities to implement the Nagoya Protocol.