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Workshop:

10th Pan-African Workshop on Access and Benefit-sharing

6 to 10 March 2017, Dakar, Senegal

Hosted by the Direction des Parcs Nationaux du Sénégal

Background

Since the coming into force of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS in 2014, African countries have intensified activities to adapt or develop their domestic ABS systems. At the regional level, guidance is provided by the 2015 African Union Guidelines for a Coordinated Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, and the African Group continues to play an important role in the negotiations of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Nagoya Protocol. Recent implementation of ABS measures in countries with a strong user landscape, e.g. in the EU, is resulting in an increase of demands for ABS-compliant access to genetic resources (GR) and associated traditional knowledge (aTK) from African countries, reiterating the need for functioning ABS systems.

As an active member of the African Group, Senegal has contributed significantly to the ABS-related negotiations under the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol from the early stages. In that capacity, Senegal has also participated in the Steering Committee of the ABS Initiative for years and thus helped shaping capacity development activities on ABS across the continent. In June 2016, the country has officially become a Party to the Nagoya Protocol. The ABS Initiative is delighted that Senegal agreed to host its 10th Pan-African ABS Workshop.

Approach and Objectives

The 10th Pan-African ABS Workshop provided a forum for National ABS Focal Points and representatives of all relevant stakeholder groups – including indigenous peoples and local communities, research and the private sector – to obtain information, exchange experiences and discuss potential strategies for the implementation of ABS from an African perspective.

Specifically, the main objectives of this workshop were:

  • Participants are updated on international and regional processes in ABS and related fields, including on the outcomes of COP 13 / COP MOP 2 of the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol in Cancún, Mexico, and prepare for follow-up with a view to COP 14 / COP MOP 3.
  • Partner countries of the ABS Initiative share experiences from their national ABS implementation processes, including the development of national institutional and regulatory frameworks, the development of ABS-compliant value chains, as well as approaches to involving indigenous peoples and local communities in ABS;
  • Reflecting on key concepts of ABS and the interplay between users and providers of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, participants discuss relevant key topics, such as systematic approaches to the development of institutional and regulatory frameworks and instruments for monitoring and compliance. 

One day of the workshop programme was dedicated to case studies from Senegal, addressing more specific topics such as the question of transboundary resources and traditional knowledge, the need for facilitated access to pathogens and, looking at local seed varieties and farmers’ rights, the interface to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Adding to the formal workshop programme, the presence of resource people from the ABS Initiative and several partner organisations provided an opportunity for participants to seek targeted, personal advice on relevant topics throughout the week.

Participants

The up to 140 participants included National ABS Focal Points, representatives of Competent National Authorities for ABS, relevant regional and international organisations and indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as stakeholders from research, civil society and the private sector involved in biotrade and bioprospecting.