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In Benin, the official launch of the “Mutually supportive implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty” project, conducted under the Darwin Initiative, took place in Cotonou, Benin, 13-15 May, 2015 at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Photo: Participants to the official launch of the project Mutually supportive implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty in Benin, May 2015 Credit: Wilfried AnagonouThe Expert Guidance Committee (EGC) of the project, composed by the two lead national organisations from each country, the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Capacity Development Initiative, the secretariats of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and of the International Treaty, the African Union Commission and Bioversity International, met first to share and develop a common understanding of the scope and aim of the project; to exchange information on the progress made on  the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty in both countries and to identify how the project could contribute to its improvement.

Over the course of the two following days, the EGC met with a number of local stakeholders. These included government officials such as the Director of Cabinet of the Minister of Environment, the Director General of Forests and Natural Resources and of the National Agricultural Research Institute; the national ABS committee (including local communities, civil society, NGOs, entrepreneurs, researchers, and academics’ representatives), representatives of AfricaRice and of the IITA, and the king of Bonou, who is the highest local traditional authority and the mayor of Bonou, with two of his counselors. In total, there were about 50 participants and the event was covered and broadcasted by the national TV channel Canal3 and BB24. 

Additionally, a field trip to Bonou,to one of the two selected communities for the implementation of the project, were was organized. The visit turned into a big assembly where different stakeholders were present. Among the participants to the event there were the traditional healers’ association, the women’s group, representatives of custodians of traditional religions and sacred forests, the youth group, and the farmers’ association. Also the king of Bonou was there. At the end of the event, participants were invited to a guided visit to stands of local products made by local biodiversity. About 75 people attended the event, which was covered and broadcasted by the national TV channel Canal3 and BB24.

Overall, participants recognized the importance and role of agricultural biodiversity for humans’ wellbeing and acknowledged the necessity of assuring an equitable access and share of benefits arising from the exploitation of plant genetic resources. In addition, participants stressed their expectations on this project, in hopes that the joint implementation of both international agreements will contribute to granting food security and poverty reduction, and facilitate the creation of economic incentives for an increase of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in their countries.

Photo: Participants at the official launch of the project Mutually supportive implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treatyin Benin,May   Credit: Wilfried Anagonou

Video (in French): Lancement officiel de la mise en oeuvre du projèt Mutuel soutien du Protocol de Nagoya et le Traité international au Bénin


This video was recorded during the official launch of the Project Mutually supportive implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty in Benin, in May 2015. In the video, partners from Benin and Madagascar explain how despite the important contribution of the rural communities of their countries to the conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, their role as biodiversity defenders has always been overlooked at both the national and international levels. Thereafter, Raymond Vodouhe, from Bioversity International, explains how the International Treaty and the Nagoya Protocol were created seeking to overcome this issue and describes how the project was explicitly designed to support the implementation of both agreements in the two countries in a mutually supportive manner. Ultimately, he continues, one of the main goals of the project is to ensure the politico-legal recognition of these biodiversity stewards and their rights to benefit from others’ use of their biological resources/traditional knowledge.

 

In the media:  
Le projet de mise en oeuvre lancé pour sécuriser les ressources génétiques (Benin)
Lancement des activités du projet Nagoya (Benin).