6.6 Uganda: Institutional Arrangements
In Uganda the ABS regulation provides for the following institutions being involved in the ABS arena: the competent authority; the Authority and, lead agencies. Further, the law is prescriptive on each of these institutions functions and roles.
The designated competent authority in Uganda is the National Council for Science and Technology (Rule 5). The UNCST is established under the Science and Technology Act. According to the ABS regulations, as the designated Competent Authority, some of its functions are to receive and facilitate processing of all access requests; to co-ordinate the activities of lead agencies relating to access to genetic resources; to establish and maintain a depository for all material transfer agreements and associated accessory agreements; to establish administrative mechanisms for the implementation of the ABS regulations; to facilitate the negotiation and conclusion of all accessory and material transfer agreements; and, to ensure that all accessory and material transfer agreements contain sufficient provisions for benefit sharing.
The Authority is the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), as established under the National Environmental Act. Insofar as access to genetic resources and benefit sharing in Uganda is concerned, its functions are stipulated in Rule 8 of the ABS regulations and these are:
- To initiate, in collaboration with lead agencies the formulation of a national policy on access to genetic resources;
- To collaborate with lead agencies in carrying out public awareness campaigns, designing capacity building programmes,m and ensuring compliance with and enforcement of the regulations;
- To develop, in collaboration with the UNCST and lead agencies, guidelines for access to, and export of genetic resources; and
- To advice on access to genetic resources outside protected areas.
Lead agencies are responsible for the management and regulation of access to genetic resources. They are required to receive an application from the UNCST, for access to genetic resources submitted by an applicant. Following receipt of the application, their functions as stipulated in Rule 7 are as follows:
- To review the application and advice UNCST as to whether consent for access should be granted;
- To monitor in collaboration with UNCST and other lead agencies the application and use of genetic resources exported from Uganda;
- To ensure the rights of the local communities which use, collect or research into genetic resources are protected;
- To ensure that accessory agreements have been concluded between the applicant and all affected parties;
- On the approval of the UNCST, to establish a depository or designate an existing depository for representative samples or specimens of genetic materials taken out of Uganda.
One of the lead agencies that is explicitly mentioned in the ABS regulations is the CITES Management Authority, a statutory agency established under the Uganda Wildlife Act. According to Rule 11 of the ABS regulations, an application for access to genetic resources of any species listed as protected or threatened in Uganda must first be approved by the CITES Management Authority prior to approval by UNCST and the lead agency.