|Bhutan biodiversity experts visit ACB|
To learn about the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), specifically its work on promoting access and benefit sharing (ABS) of genetic resources, a group of biodiversity experts from Bhutan recently visited the Centre’s headquarters in Los Banos, Philippines. Mainly from the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation, the Bhutanese officials were accompanied by a representative from the Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE), a non-government organization working on plant genetic resources conservation development and use in Southeast and East Asia.
Bhutan, a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, is planning to develop a national ABS legal framework and an ABS clearing house mechanism (CHM). Dr. Tashi Yangzome Dorji, Programme Director of NBC, said the visit to ACB drew ideas and concepts that can help Bhutan in developing its national policy on ABS.
She added that Bhutan’s vision is to conserve and sustain the country’s biodiversity through securing the economic, social and spiritual well-being of the Bhutanese people.
“In order to realize this vision, NBC and SEARICE will build institutional collaboration with ACB and share experiences on biodiversity information management.
The Bhutanese trip the Philippines included visits to the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and Pascual Laboratories.
ACB officials led by Ms. Clarissa Arida, director for programme development and implementation, provided the visitors an overview of the Centre's activities. Mr. Anthony Foronda, ABS Project Coordinator and Ms. Ana Maria Tolentino, Programme Development Officer, shared information on the UNEP-GEF funded project on ABS while Dr. Shiela Vergara, director for biodiversity information management (BIM), and Ms. Lilibeth Cabebe of BIM, showcased the regional CHM.