Mongolia to make long-term investments in biotechnology research and development
26 Aug 2018
Interest in the economic value of Mongolia’s genetic resources and traditional knowledge is growing and the country is now developing a longer term multi-sectoral plan for strategic investments.
In this regard, the National Symposium on Biotechnology Development and Genetic Resources Utilization was held up at the Mongolia National University, on the 8th June 2018, at Ulaanbaatar. The workshop, organized by Mongolia’s government in partnership with the UNDP-GEF Global Access and genetic resources Benefit Sharing (ABS) project, was an exceptional platform for leading researchers, scholars, academics and government officials to engage on issues of biotechnology research, education and biodiversity conservation and use in Mongolia.
They discussed the current state of biotechnology development in the country, identified emerging and future investment opportunities and agreed on several follow-up actions, among which is the development of a legal framework that aligns with national and global development goals.
“With its close to 6000 types of plant species, numerous animal species and unique ecosystems, Mongolia has a wealth of genetic resources with actual and potential value, and the benefits from these resources are not temporary,” said the Mongolian Minister of Environment and Tourism, Mr. Namsrai Tserenbat.
Furthermore, Mr. Tserenbat said the country can harness long-term benefits by broadening production through the establishment of sustainable development policies and legal frameworks that will provide an enabling environment for the growth of a modern biotechnology industry.
Mongolia is in the early stages of implementing provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity relating to the Nagoya Protocol, a Treaty that strengthens the control that State Parties have over their genetic resources and traditional knowledge and empowers them to share in the socio-economic benefits accruing from the use of these resources.
In addition to establishing a comprehensive legal framework, the country has identified the critical role of research in successful implementation of the Protocol and in realizing the huge economic benefits from genetic resources.
“I strongly believe that a robust legal framework and effective implementation mechanisms will increase the contribution that genetic resources can make to economic diversification and innovation in this country. And the scientific community is a key actor through biodiscovery activities,” added Mr. Tserenbat.
Participants unanimously agreed to cooperate on specific initiatives to highlight and increase the value of the country’s genetic resources, including strengthening laboratories and conducting advanced studies on beaver conservation, immune system and metabolic capacity of Mongolian livestock that make them highly adapted to extreme weather and environmental conditions, and embryo transfer and in-vitro fertilization in wild animals.
“Academic entrepreneurship would play an important role in biodiscovery initiatives in Mongolia,” concluded Mrs. Ts. Rentsenhand from the Mongolia Academy of Sciences.
The UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project is implemented by UNDP with funding from the Global Environment Fund to assist 24 countries in developing and strengthening their national ABS frameworks, human resources and administrative capabilities to implement the Nagoya Protocol over a three-year period. In Mongolia, the project is providing technical assistance and advisory services to the government and bio-stakeholders for the establishment of favourable legal environments and facilitating stronger partnerships for result-oriented action.