BY ARNOLD LETSHOLO
Ministry of Environment with the support of United Nations Development Program (UNDP); are implementing a small scale project to domesticate the Nagoya protocol which Botswana acceded to in February 2013.
Access Benefit Sharing (ABS) Project Officer Dineo Gaborekwe, said the three-year project timed from October 2017 comprises of: Strengthening the legal, policy institutional capacity to develop national ABS frameworks; Building trust between users and providers of genetic resources to facilitate the identification of bio discovery efforts as well as; Strengthening the capacity of local communities to contribute to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.
Dubbed; “Strengthening Human Resources, Legal Frameworks and Institutional Capacities to Implement the Nagoya Protocol”; the project implements development Bio-cultural Community Protocol-which covers indigenous products like Matute-a-Mongongo.
It provides a set of rules on the way in which genetic resources and related Traditional Knowledge may be accessed. Also as to how the benefits that result from their use are shared between the people or countries using the resources (users) and the people or countries that provide them (providers).
Gaborekwe further highlighted that it envisages to develop and implement a Communication strategy and Plan targeting policymakers, researchers, Local communities, and relevant industry as well as forge participation among government, IKS holders, and practitioners to allow them to participate in the formal sector and also with NGOs that are involved in the development of Indigenous Knowledge Skills (commercialize IKS).
Other activities include one on one consultation with different stakeholders like National Food Technology Research Center (NFTRC,) Department of Road Safety and Transport (DRST), and District structures and departments, seminars and legal status of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (ILCs) institutions and industry accessing and conducting research in Botswana.
On a more committed scale, case studies are conducted for the sake of benefit sharing in Botswana. For instance, the Hoodia case study. Hoodia was pirated through research and ended up with foreign patent. There also are examples and cases of biopiracy in Botswana
It also boosts existing mechanisms to support national implementation of ABS through revisiting Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA). The issue of contracts where different parties reach an agreement to work together comes handy in harmonious dealings.
The objective of this Nagoya Protocol is the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding, thereby contributing to the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components.