|Regional Workshop on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS): Understanding the Nagoya Protocol(old)|
The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is co-implementing a project on Building Capacity for Regionally Harmonized National Processes for Implementing Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Provisions on Access to Genetic Resources (ABS). Funded by the United Nations Environment Programme-Global Environment Facility (UNEP-GEF), the two-year project aims to: (1) strengthen capacity of ASEAN Member States (AMS) to implement the CBD provisions on ABS through the development of full and effective national ABS frameworks; (2) increase understanding of ABS issues among stakeholders and the general public; and (3) improve public understanding of the contribution that ABS can make to biodiversity conservation.
Participating countries are the AMS and Timor Leste, with ACB, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) as executing partners. The Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand have committed to provide government contributions to the project.
The project comes at an opportune time, given the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS in October 2010 at the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP 10), after years of negotiation for an international regime to promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.
Most of the activities being undertaken under the project focus on national-level review and assessment of existing ABS policies, as well as assessing the institutional capacities to implement these policies in ASEAN Member States. These assessments will then be elevated to the regional level to capacitate stakeholders; and assist in the development and drafting of new, if not revised/amended ABS policies in line with the Nagoya Protocol. Regional multi-stakeholder workshops and training activities will be conducted.
In May 2011, Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the CBD, visited the Philippines for the Southeast Asia launch of the UN Decade of Biodiversity, and lauded the active involvement of the country and the region in the CBD meetings, especially the negotiations for the Nagoya Protocol. Secretary Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources positively responded, and opened the possibility for the Philippines to host an international ABS process.
It is in these contexts that ACB will be conducting the first regional workshop in the Philippines, as the Philippine Government's contribution to the UNEP-GEF ABS project. The workshop will be held back-to-back with the Project Inception Workshop and the 1st Project Steering Committee Meeting.
The regional workshop will be organized in Manila to be hosted by the Government of the Philippines through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. With the theme Understanding the Nagoya Protocol, the event will be the initial capacity-building activity of the project.
The objectives of the workshop are to:
1. Provide basic information and update on ABS, the negotiations of the international regime, and the Nagoya Protocol on ABS;
2. Understand the basic and salient provisions of the Nagoya Protocol, as well as its relationship with other international agreements on ABS;
3. Present the baseline information of the ABS status in the region and at national level, including the ASEAN Framework Agreement on ABS;
4. Identify the capacity building needs of governments and stakeholders in the implementation of a national ABS policy; and
5. Provide an overview of the national level implementation of the ABS Regional Project.
At the end of the workshop, the participants are expected to have understood the key elements of the Nagoya Protocol, and identified and understood the elements and mechanisms for a national ABS framework/policy.