A virtual capacity-building workshop on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) from the country’s genetic resources, as mandated by the Nagoya Protocol, began in Honiara on Wednesday 15th December. The Nagoya Protocol is a supplementary treaty adopted in Nagoya, Japan in 2010 under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Solomon Islands became a party to the protocol in 2020, bringing with it relevant responsibilities to promote access benefit sharing and, most importantly, to build the country’s national capacity to ensure Nagoya Protocol’s key provisions were implemented.
Opening the workshop Deputy Director (Environment & Conservation Division), Mr. Josef Hurutarau stated that in terms of national policy, framework and legislation we have yet to fully meet the ABS requirements at the national level and it will be one of our priority tasks for next year.
He stated that the Government through the Ministry of Environment (MECDM) is aware that these issues are important to us and that we must act swiftly to ensure better management of the access and an accountable benefit sharing of the country’s genetic resources.
“In the context of our country, most of the genetic resources are within customary jurisdiction, and we might have missed opportunities over the years to ensure that benefits to these genetic resources are fully utilized and accorded to the rightful owners of these resources,” Mr. Hurutarau said.
The workshop is expected to provide an understanding of the basic provisions relating to Prior Informed Consent (PIC), Mutually Agreed Terms (MTA), and Benefit Sharing Agreements, familiarization with the conceptual framework on Access and Benefit Sharing system, and identification of key issues at the national level, mapping out the roles and responsibilities of key national partners, and paving the way for an ABS road map in the Solomon Islands.
Stakeholders including Government Ministries, NGOs, and others attended the workshop and will continue to work together to implement ABS provisions in the country.
With the support of resource personnel’s from SPREP, the University of New South Wales, and Sydney University of Technology, the capacity building workshop generated rich discussions and facilitated dialogue with relevant stakeholders on way forward for ABS implementation in Solomon Islands.
The workshop ends on 16th December 2021.