Expert consultation on the movement and exchange of animal genetic materials and implementation of the Nagoya protocol on ABS in Africa

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© 2015 AU-IBAR. Group Photo.© 2015 AU-IBAR. Group Photo.An Experts consultation meeting was convened by the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), from 20 to 22 April 2015 at Hotel du Lac in Cotonou, Benin, in the framework of the implementation of the AU-IBAR project on "Strengthening the capacity of African Countries on Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Animal Genetic Resources in Africa".

This meeting, which aimed at taking stock and assessing challenges and constraints in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in African countries since the ratification, reviewing continental developments and mechanisms relevant to the movements and exchange of animal genetic material, gathered participants from 6 Countries, namely Cameroon, Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia and Tunisia, as well as International and regional organizations namely FAO, ILRI, ECOWAS, AU-IBAR and AUC and also NGOs working with communities in the field of animal genetic resources.

The specific objectives included among key ones, to:

  •  Assess the legal environment for the exchange and movement of animal genetic material, as well as the adoption/implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in African countries since the ratification.
  •  Assess challenges and constraints in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in African countries since the adoption/ratification.
  •  Propose technical standards, legislation or regulatory requirements for the exchange and movement of genetic materials.
  •  Propose a guideline for the exchange and movement of genetic materials including benefits to local communities, custodians of genetic resources and  associated traditional knowledge.
  •  Propose a legislative framework for the establishment of regional genebanks.

After 3 days of deliberations, the expert consultation meeting:

  • Recognized the low level of awareness among the animal resources committee on the issues and current discussions on ABS at national, regional and continental level;
  • Recommended the following:
    •  Creating awareness on the need of mainstreaming AnGR issues in ongoing discussions/initiatives on ABS;
    •  Develop adapted awareness and sensitisation tools/ materials on ABS for local communities' involvement and ownership of the ABS issues;
    •  Best practices, experiences and lessons learned on ABS, MTA or other contractual issues to be collected and disseminated;
    •  Develop regional action plans/strategies to implement ABS at regional level;
    •  Within the regional action plan, organise joint capacity building activities for both ABS National Focal Points and AnGR National Focal points;
    •  Fast track the implementation AU guidelines and monitor its implementation;
    •  Develop policies and agreements (MTA template) related to the exchange of genetic materials and ABS;
    •  Pilot the BCP (Bio-cultural Protocols) in pastoral areas of West Africa and explore the opportunities of expansion on the Continent including providing guidelines for such process.