Submitted by angelicas on Mon, 03/15/2021 - 16:22
Access and Benefit Sharing in Tonga
March 15, 2021 by angelicas
Island and Ocean Ecosystems

8 March, 2021, Nuku’alofa, Tonga – Tonga ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising (ABS) from their Utilization in 2019.  The Nagoya Protocol ensures that any benefits that come from the use of genetic resources are shared fairly and equitably.

Tonga has now completed a two-day workshop to help stakeholders action the Protocol at the national level.  It was a mix of physical and virtual training.  Participants at the workshop discussed the critical issues affecting Nagoya Protocol implementation in Tonga, creating awareness on issues related to ABS.

“The Nagoya Protocol and all it stands for is very important for Tonga,” said Mr Paula Ma’u the Chief Executive Officer of the Tonga Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC).

“We are keen to properly understand the compliance requirements for careful planning and successful implementation of the Protocol.  This workshop is extremely helpful for us.  We are grateful for the collaboration between our partners and this workshop happening despite the COVID-19 challenges we are facing.”

The workshop was coordinated by a partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) through the Regional ABS Project, Government of Tonga, ABS Capacity Development Initiative (ABS-CDI), and the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

It follows capacity building sessions facilitated by SREP in 2018 for Tonga as part of the Regional ABS Project funded by the Global Environment Facility, implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme and executed by SPREP. Tonga has also indicated interest in participating in Phase II of the Project.

“Tonga is one of the most recent Parties to the Protocol in the Pacific region, having ratified it in 2019.  There is much work to be done for Tonga to achieve full compliance, and we’re pleased to be able to help how we can,” said Ms Amanda Wheatley, Biodiversity Adviser at SPREP.

“Being innovative in applying support for Tonga has helped us continue our capacity building support and we look forward to working with Tonga so that it can achieve full compliance.”

The two-day workshop on Capacity Building and Training on the Implementation of the Access and Benefit Sharing under the Nagoya Protocol was held in Tonga on 3 – 4 March 2021.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force on 12 October 2014.

Eight Pacific islands are Parties to the Nagoya Protocol:  Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

The Regional ABS Project supports 14 Pacific Island Countries to ratify the Nagoya Protocol.  To learn more please visit: www.sprep.org/abs.

For more information please email Rahul Chand at [email protected].