30 May -1st June 2022 | Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva
Through financial assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implementation by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP) is currently executing a Regional Access and Benefit Sharing Project in fourteen Pacific Island Countries.
The Project supports Pacific Island countries in ratifying the Nagoya Protocol and implementing key measures to make the Protocol operational in the region. The main objective is to help countries from the Pacific region in the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing, build legal and technical capacity to implement and operationalize the Protocol domestically, and improve awareness, communication, and education on access and benefit-sharing issues in the Pacific.
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their utilization of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), was adopted in 2010. It came into force in 2014, making it legally binding on state parties. While the CBD contained text on traditional knowledge in article 8(j) and established a framework for prior informed consent and benefit-sharing relating to utilization (through R&D) of genetic resources, the Nagoya Protocol broadens the focus of ABS to include biochemical extracts from genetic resources. It has traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources within its scope.
The Project began executing activities in July 2017 following the Regional Project Inception meeting held in Apia, Samoa. The Project contributes to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2 ‘Zero Hunger,’ Goal 14: Life Below Water, and SDG 15 on ‘Life on Land.
SPREP has consistently engaged with the countries from the Pacific region in the development and review of national policy and regulatory frameworks. The developed frameworks aim to promote the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. Additionally, it is to improve and encourage investment, including enhanced national, regional, and international cooperation on academic and commercial research that contributes to conservation and sustainable development.
There are issues about misappropriation of knowledge, intellectual property rights, unfair distribution of benefits, biopiracy, and lack of protection of Traditional knowledge. One area of significant consideration in the Pacific is the use of traditional knowledge associated with biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from its use. For the Pacific region, this is highly significant, given the presence of high terrestrial and marine biodiversity, including some regionally and locally endemic species, and extensive Polynesian, Micronesian and Melanesian medicinal, agricultural, marine, environmental, biocultural, and related knowledge. Under Article 12 of the Protocol, parties are required to consider ‘indigenous and local communities’ customary laws, community protocols, and procedures, as applicable, with respect to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.
As such, the TK dialogue forum will allow participants to discuss these issues and provide an opportunity for Pacific stakeholders to develop a consensus on the best way forward in addressing such concerns.