The Caricom Secretariat last week hosted a capacity building workshop for member states aimed at enhancing their abilities to implement the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing of genetic resources.
The workshop was held with a view to making the protocol operational in keeping with national legislation by 2015.
The workshop, the third in this regard, was held in partnership with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Caricom Secretariat Annex, a press statement from the Caricom Secretariat said. Its objective was to strengthen the capacity of the participating countries to ratify or accede to the Protocol and to prepare for its implementation with the view to contributing to making it operational consistent with national legislation, thereby achieving Aichi Target 16.
In her address at the opening ceremony for the workshop, Myrna Bernard, Director of Human Development at the Caricom Secretariat, said the seminar is timely as many member states are currently updating their national biodiversity strategies and action plans. She said the Caricom Secretariat, through its Sustainable Development Programme, has long advocated for mainstreaming the environment into national and regional strategies for economic and social development.
The director then recalled some of the work that the secretariat was doing to make the Protocol operational, including co-hosting two previous Caribbean regional ABS workshops in cooperation with the Access and Benefit-Sharing Initiative and with support from the European Union. Bernard noted that training in the drafting of legislation for Protocol implementation has also been delivered and a list of qualified consultants who could assist Caricom countries in the legislative and policy process has been compiled and disseminated.
The director further said that in an effort to widen awareness and deepen the understanding of the opportunities and benefits that could arise from participation in the global ABS framework, the secretariat has also formally brought the Nagoya Protocol and its implications for the Region to the attention of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – Ministers of Agriculture and the COTED – Ministers of Environment. She also expressed appreciation to the European Union for its support to host a one-day training session on the Access and Benefit-Sharing Clearing House. Bernard also thanked the CBD Secretariat and the European Union for providing training on the pilot-phase of the ABS Clearing House.
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud declared the workshop open. In his remarks he noted the importance of having the Protocol in place to safeguard resources. Persaud said legislation has long been established in Guyana that will help with putting the Protocol into operation. “It is my expectation that when we will have concluded this workshop the region will be better equipped to implement the Nagoya Protocol,” he said.
According to the press release, the workshop will build on the Caribbean Workshop on Access and Benefit-sharing held from November 25-29, 2013 in Jamaica and the Regional Training Workshop on Drafting Legislation for Implementation on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing held from June 26-28, 2013 in Dominica. Both sessions were organised by the Caricom Secretariat and the ABS Capacity Development Initiative, in collaboration with CBD Secretariat.