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Potentials for a Certificate of Origin/ Source/ Legal Provenance in Africa

28-30 March 2007, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Following the recommendations of the Technical Expert Group established by the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), this workshop addressed the possibility of establishing a certificate of origin/ source/ legal provenance in Africa as part of an international regime on ABS.

One of the main findings of the Technical Expert Group meeting in January 2007 in Lima, Peru, was the recommendation to further explore the option of a “Certificate of Compliance” in the context of national ABS regulations.

The regional workshop in Addis Ababa was held to support the elaboration of an African position on the issue. The workshop provided information and exchange on the current national and international processes and built hands-on capacity by discussing concrete examples of bioprospecting cases in Africa.

A number of cases from the chemical, the pharmaceutical and the food sector served as a basis for a “reality check” as to how the Expert Group’s recommendations could be implemented in the African context.


Participants identified potential elements of an African position on a “Certificate of Origin and/or Source” for submission to the African Group in the ABS negotiations  and jointly drafted a rationale, scope, content, format and procedures for a potential certificate and outlined implementation challenges.

The workshop was hosted by the Ethiopian Institute for Biodiversity Conservation and attended by 40 representatives of national authorities, research and development institutions, NGOs, international organisations and international private sector businesses from all regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.