Ensuring a Fair and Equitable Share for Biodiversity ConservationJun 24, 2016
June 17, Beijing- Aiming to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources in China, the United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Facility (GEF) “Developing and Implementing the National Framework on Access to and Benefit Sharing (ABS) of Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge” Project (Hereby referred as “UNDP-GEF ABS project) was launched on June 17th 2016. 50 representatives from government and private companies which participated in the project pilots attended the inception workshop of the project to discuss the project’s work plan in the coming year.
Possessing nearly 10% of the plant species and 14% of animals on the planet, China is one of the 17 mega-biodiversity countries in the world. Biodiversity not only helps maintain the productivity of the ecosystem, but also supports food security, helps humans adapt to the climate change, and provides important resources for medicine. Important as it is, the rapid social-economic development in China has put its biodiversity under increasing pressures.
Human have discovered and made use of Genetic Resources (GR) like plants and animals in making medicines, agricultural practices alongside for research, and such knowledge which is possessed by the local ethnic minority communities has brought great benefit to the larger society. Yet, while the rest of the world enjoy such benefits, the local communities rarely obtain paybacks from such knowledge sharing, and worst of all, the exploration of natural resources from outside have jeopardized local ecosystems.
To promote the sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of the genetic resources in a fair and equitable way and thereby contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from the Unitization was adopted in 2010. China has ratified the protocol on June 8, 2016 and will accede to it on September 6, 2016.
In close connection with China’s emphasis on the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the GR, under the support from GEF, UNDP initiated the GEF ABS project together with the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO) of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), with the goal to strengthen the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources in China, and support China’s further steps in its realization of the Nagoya protocol.
“UNDP hopes through best practices demonstrations, the project can help the providers of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, such as local communities and individuals, to participate in the benefit sharing from utilization of those resources.” said Carsten Germer, Assistant Country Director of UNDP China, “Such an act can improve local livelihoods and welfare and can motivate local communities to better conserve the biodiversity.”
To achieve its set target, the five-year project will be working on building the national regulatory and institutional framework on ABS, building the ABS implementing systems as well as raising the public’s awareness and enhancing the key stakeholders’ capacity in this area. After reviewing the annual plan and the inception report of the project, training on project management and ABS awareness raising in private sectors as well as local community were provided to increase the key stakeholders understanding of this area in the workshop.