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Best Practices for Biotrade and ABS

18-20 June 2007, Windhoek, Namibia

The focal point of this event was the exchange between legislators and the private sector in order to explore the role of the latter in ABS and biotrade. Recommendations for companies were developed.

All over the world, the private sector generates benefits from the utilisation of biological or genetic resources, thus playing a key role in achieving the third objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Yet there is still a great deal of legal uncertainty when it comes to the regulation of access to and the sharing of benefits between users and providers of these resources, while contributing to biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation as outlined in the Convention. This lack of a consistent legal framework significantly increases the opportunity and transaction costs of both communities and companies regarding commercial use of traditional knowledge and genetic resources. As a consequence, many companies opt out of natural products research and development and communities refuse to share their traditional knowledge or resources.

The uncertain situation facilitates biopiracy, leaving communities with few instruments to combat it.

Objectives

  • Facilitate exchange between legislators and the private sector
  • Explore the potential role of the private sector in ABS and biotrade, e.g. through public-private-partnerships (PPP)
  • Identify best practices for ABS and biotrade in Southern Africa
  • Contribute to the discussion on the scope of the international regime and national legislation on ABS.

For details on the results of the group discussions on the ABS international regime, biotrade and national implementation click here.

The workshop results fed into a side event during a later meeting of the Working Group on ABS (WGABS). The side event is seen as a way to publicize the recommendations to a broader audience in preparation for the 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Conference on Biological Diversity (COP-9).

Forty-eight stakeholders from 11 countries participated, among them private sector representatives from Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, United Kingdom and Germany.

This event was organised in cooperation with the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and PhytoTrade Africa.