Aichi Biodiversity Target 16: By 2015, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization is in force and operational, consistent with national legislation.
23 November 2018, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt - As one of the newest Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing on the Utilization of Genetic Resources, Tuvalu is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure the Nagoya Protocol is well actioned in the island nation.
This will help ensure any use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge that leads to commercial benefits will see those benefits shared equally with the owners. This is also known as Access and Benefits Sharing (ABS).
One of the key activities to be undertaken by Tuvalu is to share information on the ABS Clearing House, a website maintained by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It aims to make all information relevant to ABS available in an open global repository. The ABS Clearing-House allows providers to share information on contacts, procedures and requirements for accessing genetic resources and traditional knowledge.
“This will help people interested in researching or bioprospecting genetic resources in Tuvalu, know what is expected of them when working on these and our traditional knowledge in our island,” said Ms Tilia Asau, ABS Focal Point for Tuvalu. Ms Asau is currently attending the 14th Conference on Biological Diversity in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
“It will also help ensure that all benefits from these will be shared equally to the owners, through fair and equitable ABS agreements established. We are appreciative of the support we have received from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme through their Pacific regional ABS project that has helped us come this far, and are further grateful for their help with preparing information for the ABS Clearinghouse.”
The Government of Tuvalu acceded to the Nagoya Protocol in August 2018 and is currently reviewing national laws to develop a national framework for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. This framework will provide the information on how to access the genetic resources of Tuvalu including the associated traditional knowledge to be shared on the ABS Clearing House.
Another role played by the ABS Clearing House is that it monitors how the genetic resources are being used throughout the value chain.
When a country grants access to a genetic resource they will provide a permit or something similar. When this is granted, the ABS Clearing House automatically generates an internationally recognised certificate of compliance. The first certificate generated was issued on 1 October, 2015 following a permit made available to the ABS Clearing House by India’s National Biodiversity Authority.
“Tuvalu is pleased to be able to provide information on the ABS Clearing House, although we only ratified the Nagoya Protocol this year, we believe strongly in how it will benefit our Tuvalu Community,” said Ms Asau at a special event on the ABS Clearing House at the CBD COP14 on 23 November.
“We do have much work to do to successfully implement the Protocol, but we know that without this legal certainty the Nagoya Protocol provides the potential users of our genetic resources and, or associated traditional knowledge could be less eager to invest research activities. Without a legal agreement it could lead to controversy, and allegations of misappropriation or misuses of these resources or knowledge.”
Eight Pacific islands are now a Party to the Nagoya Protocol. These are the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The CBD COP14 is held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from 17 – 29 November, 2018. The Pacific islands are represented at the CBD COP14 by the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
To learn more about the ABS Clearing House please visit: https://absch.cbd.int/about/whatitdoes