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Expert Workshop:

Developing ABS Communication Material for IPLC

29 January - 1 February 2018, Limuru, Kenya

Organized by Natural Justice and ABS Capacity Development Initiative


The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilisation (ABS) grants relatively far-reaching rights to Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) to decide about and benefit from the utilisation of their traditional knowledge and, in certain cases, genetic resources. Depending on national legislation, IPLCs are thus often the ones that act as providers of knowledge or resources and enter into ABS agreements with users.

Yet, many African IPLCs are not or only insufficiently aware of the concept of ABS and the related national and international frameworks defining their rights and roles in the interplay between users and providers. Communicating this complex topic in remote areas with low literacy levels and, very often, across language barriers remains a challenge for both government authorities and non-governmental organisations.

Over the last years, both ABS Focal Points and IPLCs have repeatedly pointed out the need for adapted ABS communication materials for rural / community contexts. Those materials would help to communicate the relevant elements of the Nagoya Protocol and respective national ABS frameworks in adequate ways. This would enable IPLCs to play a meaningful role in ABS implementation and, ultimately, benefit fairly from the utilisation of their traditional knowledge and genetic resources.

In response to these requests, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative and Natural Justice intend to develop a range of products that can be adapted and applied in rural and community contexts to support ABS-related communication and awareness raising activities.


In order to start the product development process, this four-day workshop was held with African experts involved in local-level ABS and communications with the aim to provide the basis for adapted (and adaptable) ABS communications materials for IPLC target groups.

Apart from providing an opportunity for mutual learning and joint discussions around approaches and methods of communicating ABS and related topics, the workshop aimed to develop concepts for different communication materials targeting specific groups of IPLCs.

Accordingly, the main objectives of the workshop were to:

  • Gain an overview of relevant concepts as well as existing materials and approaches;
  • Discuss and identify target groups, contents and key messages to be communicated at the local level;
  • Identify appropriate products to be developed;
  • Prepare and discuss initial concepts for the selected products.

Using methods from the Opens external link in new windowguide “Strategic Communication for ABS” (also availabe in Opens external link in new windowFrench, Opens external link in new windowSpanish and Opens external link in new windowPortuguese) the participants spent four days identifying the most relevant target groups, designing communication objectives for them, selecting a range of suitable communication channels, specifying main messages and outlining possible contents for some of those. The results of the workshop will provide guidance to the organisers when developing the respective communication tools. The ABS Initiative and Natural Justice will keep the workshop participants informed during the product development process so that they can provide their feedback at the different stages.


This highly interactive workshop gathered representatives of IPLCs and non-governmental organisations, experts in communication, research and value chains as well as government officials, thus combining different relevant perspectives from a range of African countries.

Download the report Initiates file downloadhere