There is good news for the people of Tuvalu as it becomes the latest Pacific island country to accede to the Nagoya Protocol. This will be in the greater interest of the indigenous and traditional knowledge holders of Tuvalu by ensuring protection of their biodiversity and traditional knowledge relating to the use of biodiversity. The process was undertaken after the Prime Minister of Tuvalu Honourable Enele Sosene Sopoaga signed the Instrument of Accession and the government successfully deposits the Instrument to the United Nations Treaty Section on 26 August 2018.
The Pacific Regional Access and Benefits Sharing (ABS) Project executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) conducted two national capacity building workshops in Funafuti from 22-23 August, which culminated in a collective decision by key stakeholders to instigate national process for the accession of the Nagoya Protocol.
Legal Adviser for the SPREP implemented Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded ABS Regional Project, Ms Ofa Ma’asi-Kaisamy who led the mission to Tuvalu described the workshop as very useful for preparatory discussions regarding the accession of the Protocol by Tuvalu. The workshop drew participants from key government ministries, women’s representatives, youth and traditional knowledge holders.
“The workshop has been very successful, most key stakeholders were present and drew upon key issues of national interest, and through comprehensive discussions on the subject developed a roadmap for the country,” said Ms Kaisamy.
Mr Fakavae Taomia, Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour described the session as very enriching to the decision makers. He conveyed the government’s gratitude to SPREP for the assistance in identifying measures to implement ABS in Tuvalu.
“I am very delighted to have been part of this very important session today. I hope that this exercise will become the stepping stone of our implementation of ABS in Tuvalu in the very near future” said Mr Taomia.
Director for the Department of Environment and the CBD Focal Point, Mr Soseala Tinilau stated: “There is an increase of interest in the precious genetic resources and the associated traditional knowledge and the government of Tuvalu and the people have identified the need to implement strong legal frameworks regulating access to these national assets.“
Along with the workshop, the Project conducted one-on-one consultations and focussed dialogue with the national focal point and other relevant stakeholders on issues regarding ABS in Tuvalu. The consultations were held in two parts, the first being amongst the high-level representatives comprising senior governments officials such as the CEO’s, and the latter was amongst the technical officials of government and non-government. The objective was to familiarise key decision makers on the basic provisions of the Nagoya Protocol and the implications of ratifying the treaty. The technical session aimed at providing an overview of ABS and basic arrangements required to implement ABS at a national level.
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (“the Nagoya Protocol”) was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at its tenth meeting in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010. The Nagoya Protocol was entered into force on 12 October 2014, following its ratification by 53 Parties to the CBD.