Showing Pacific leadership, Samoa has made significant progress on how their genetic resources may be accessed. The island nation has advanced how both providers and users agree on the fair and equitable sharing of benefits that may arise from their use.
Faleaseela and Aopo villages in Samoa now have protocols in place to guide how they apply Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS). These are one of four achievements made since Samoa became Party to 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. This month Samoa launched four key achievements commemorating the work to advance the Nagoya Protocol: Guideline for Access and Use of Traditional Knowledge Associated with Genetic Resources; Biocultural Community Protocols for Faleaseela and Aopo; Bio-discovery Analysis Report; and the Access and Benefit Sharing Database. The Guidelines, and the Biocultural Community Protocols for Faleaseela and Aopo are available in both Samoan and English.
Caretaker Prime Minister, Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi delivered the keynote address at the special launch, touching on the importance of these significant outcomes, and the celebration of the national and regional ABS projects’ success in Samoa.
Hon. Tuilaepa thanked the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) for their support in helping to make the products available for Samoa, to ensure its genetic resources and traditional knowledge remain protected.
These were launched by the Access and Benefit Sharing Project Samoa developed through the National ABS Project implemented by UNDP and executed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa. These activities involved collaboration with the Regional ABS Project implemented by SPREP and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “Biodiversity is a resource that we must work collectively to protect in order to ensure that any benefits from the use of that resource are also used to protect our environment and our communities who rely heavily on them,” said Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP.
“Therefore, the ABS projects that have come together to carry out this important work being launched today, are a clear example of different people at the national level, in local communities, organisations and other actors helping to ensure that our biodiversity resource is protected.”
Samoa successfully applied and implemented a national standalone project under the funds available through the Global ABS Project coordinated by UNDP - the National ABS Project. Samoa is also a member of the ABS Regional Project funded by the Global Environment Facility, implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme and executed by SPREP with partners and Pacific governments. The special launch of the four milestone achievements in Samoa was held on 17 March, 2021.
The Nagoya Protocol was adopted in 2010. Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu are the Pacific island parties to the Nagoya Protocol.
The Nagoya Protocol offers the opportunity to make the best possible use of a country's genetic resources, to generate and share benefits derived from their use, and to return some of the revenue generated from these activities to the protection of the resources and the development of the communities and countries where they were sourced.
To learn more about the Nagoya Protocol please visit: https://www.cbd.int/abs/about/.
About the Regional ABS Project in Samoa
Supporting 14 Pacific island countries to ratify the Nagoya Protocol and implementing key measures to make the Protocol operational is the Regional ABS Project. It aims to empower Pacific islands to facilitate access to their genetic resources and secure benefit-sharing fairly and equitably in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol.
The project facilitated awareness-raising of the Nagoya Protocol in Samoa through a multi-media campaign; ensured attendance of Samoan participants at regional workshops in Fiji in 2018 and 2019, and supported community consultations in Aopo village in Savaii and Faleseela Village in Upolu – the local communities in Samoa that are participating in the National ABS Project.
To learn more about the Regional ABS Project please visit: https://www.sprep.org/abs.