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8th Pan-African ABS Workshop

10-14 March 2014, Cotonou, Benin

Hosted by the Ministère de l'Environnement Chargé de la gestion des changements climatiques, du reboisement et de la protection des ressources naturelles et forestières

Since 2006, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative has convened seven Pan-African workshops. Also this year, African stakeholders from different backgrounds updated each other on national and international ABS related process, exchanged experiences and expertise, and engaged in discussions around R&D related to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

Among the key challenges encountered in national implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, a recurring question is how to develop effective and context-specific ABS strategies that enable the best possible valorization of the available genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, correspond to the national policy framework and development goals – while taking into account the views of all relevant stakeholder groups.

Objectives of the workshop

  • Update participants on international, national and regional processes related to ABS including the current draft of the AU guidelines for coordinated implementation of the Nagoya Protocol
  • Discuss and exchange practical experiences on the elaboration of national ABS strategies, including investment and benefit-sharing policies for the strategic valorization of genetic resources (GR) and associated traditional knowledge (aTK)
  • Inform about the realities of research and development based on GR and aTK in various sectors, including through a local case study and fieldtrip
  • Provide space for an informed discussion on basic, academic and commercial research and development approaches with respect to GR and aTK, and the implications for ABS policies and regulations
  • Present and provide feedback opportunity on the future modalities of support for national ABS implementation by the ABS Initiative

In addition, participants were able to learn about and discuss several ABS-related issues during a day of thematic sessions.

The workshop also provided an opportunity for African Negotiators to coordinate and discuss the preparation for COP 12 of the CBD and possibly MOP 1 of the Nagoya Protocol to be held in South Korea in October 2014.


Up to 150 participants including ABS National Focal Points, representatives of competent national authorities for ABS, representatives of relevant regional and international (research) institutions, NGOs, indigenous and local communities, as well as representatives of the private sector involved in bio-trade and bio-prospecting.