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The ABS Capacity Development Initiative is hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Secretariat of the ABS Initiative. The Secretariat has been commissioned to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and is based at GIZ headquarters in Eschborn, Germany.

Governing bodies

From the beginning of the ABS Capacity Development Initiative it was agreed that donors, African representatives and other important players ― such as the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) ― should be involved in decision making.

With more donors and partners joining the Initiative and the broadening of the regional scope to the Caribbean and the Pacific regions, the governance structure developed into what it is today:

  • Regional Steering Committees ― established for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific
  • Joint Steering Committee
  • General Assembly

The Steering Committees and the General Assembly

The regional steering committees provide general guidance and advice to the Secretariat of the ABS Initiative on the capacity development process and implementation in the respective regions. They constitute the main decision making body of the ABS Initiative.

Regional steering committee members include donor representatives and appointed stakeholder representatives, excluding members of the Secretariat. Stakeholder representatives are appointed in their personal capacities based on their function, experience and ability to represent stakeholder interests.

The Regional Steering Committees meet at least once a year.

Please click on the following items for the lists of members of the different committees and the General Assembly and a description of their tasks.

African Steering Committee

African Steering Committee

Boukar Attari

Ahmed Birouk

Samuel Dieme

Natalie Feltmann

Ulrike Haupt - cc: Marianna Knirsch

Dimitri Harmegnies

Bente Herstad - cc: Inger Holten

Lesle Jansen - cc: Barbara Lassen

Lucy Mulenkei

Chouaibou Nchoutpouen

Pierre du Plessis

Kauna Schroeder

Arona Soumare – cc: Jean-Pierre Ndoutoum


Jaime Cavalier

Jiri Hlavacek – cc: Johan Robinson

Alejandro Lago

Kent Nnadozi

Valerie Normand

Maria Julia Oliva

Frederic Perron-Welch

Veronique Roussow

Mahlet Teshome

Morten Walløe Tvedt

Pacific Steering Committee

Pacific Steering Committee

Arona Soumare
Ulrike Haupt - cc: Marianna Knirsch
Dimitri Harmegnies
Elizabeth Munro - cc: Joseph Brider
Maria-Goreti Muaves - cc: Alan Saunders
Clark Peteru
Alissa Takesy
Trinison Tari - cc: Donna Kalfatak
Valerie Tuja - cc: Cenon Padolina


Gino Cocchiaro
Terence Hay-Edie - cc: Johanna von Braun
Daniel Robinson
Valerie Normand

Caribbean Steering Committee

Caribbean Steering Committee

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member Countries

Cuba (spanish speaking member)

Grenada (OECS member)

Jamaica (non-OECS member)

St. Lucia (OECS member)

Suriname (continental member)



Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat

Donors (Germany - Bun­des­mi­nis­te­ri­um für wirt­schaftliche Zusammen­arbeit und Ent­wicklung

(BMZ), European Union - Directorates General (DG) Development)

Secretariat of the ABS Initiative

TRAMIL - Program of Applied Research to Popular Medicine in the Caribbean

University of the West Indies

Observer: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD)

Joint Steering Committee

Joint Steering Committee

The Joint Steering Committee provides general guidance and advice on regionally overarching matters to the Regional Steering Committees and the Secretariat of the ABS Initiative.

The Joint Steering Committee comprises of all members of the regional steering committees.

If the Secretariat requires guidance or decisions, an email consultation process is initiated by the Secretariat.

A physical meeting of the Joint Steering Committee will only be called if a decision by consensus cannot be reached by email exchange (silence procedure) or telephone/video conference.

General Assembly

General Assembly

General Assembly participants are members and observers of the three regional steering committees as well as invited and interested representatives from partners and stakeholders.

The General Assembly offers a forum for a broader exchange on ABS capacity development. It fosters South-South dialogue and interchange with regions where the ABS Initiative is not active. The General Assembly operates in a purely consultative mode by informing the discussions and decision making of the regional steering committees and Secretariat.

The General Assembly meets bi-annually, ideally back-to-back with the meetings for the Conferences of the Parties to the CBD.