Bioversity International is working with the Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) Capacity Development Initiative, the secretariats of the CBD and of the International Treaty on plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the African Union Commission, and with partners and stakeholders in Benin and Madagascar, to develop ABS laws and agreements that contribute to pro-poor rural development and offset the cost of conserving genetic resources.
The access to and use of plant genetic resources is vital for farmers all over the world to adapt to climate change and to make their agricultural systems more productive. International agreements, such as the Nagoya Protocol adopted in 2010 by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, and ITPGRFA aim to guarantee that the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources are shared in a fair and equitable way. However, the NP and the ITPGRFA commit countries to different ABS systems: one, bilateral; the other, multilateral. The ITGRFA creates a multilateral system (MLS) whereby countries agree to virtually pool and share the plant genetic resources of 64 crops and forages for food and agriculture-related purposes. The CBD and its Nagoya Protocol, on the other hand, tend to favour the negotiation of bilateral ABS agreements between providers and users of genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Uncertainty about how to implement them together contributes to low levels of implementation of both.
Madagascar and Benin have both ratified the ITPGRFA and the Nagoya Protocol. However, neither country has mechanisms to implement either agreement separately and hence much less in a mutually supportive manner.
The project aims to promote the national implementation of the MLS; increase Benin’s and Madagascar’s overall participation in the MLS both as providers and recipients of genetic resources and information, and pursue options to benefit from other aspects of the ITPGRFA, including provisions on access to and transfer of the technology and genetic material which is included under the MLS.
Through capacity strengthening, the project seeks to implement the international policy commitments in ways that respond to local realities, contributing to development benefits. This will be achieved by empowering local communities and taking advantage of the incentives and benefits existing in each of the countries available to both the stewards/providers of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, and the recipients of genetic resources and associated information and technologies.
As part of the project, we are supporting community level activities in both countries to help these communities organize information about the biological diversity they manage, whilst developing community biodiversity management plans and ABS agreements. The project is supporting the organization of participatory workshops in four case study communities to document the impacts of climate change on local food security crops, discus options for locating potentially adapted materials in national and international collections, and to identify options for developing community biodiversity registries, community ABS protocols, and investment plans.
In the long term, it is expected that enhanced benefit sharing achieved through this project will incentive communities and public authorities to invest in the conservation of plant genetic resources. Ultimately, this will increase the availability of plant genetic diversity for climate change adaptation.
Find a brief presentation about the project here
During Year 2:
During Year 1: