The Government of Tonga and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) meet to address Access and Benefit Sharing under the Nagoya Protocol
NUKU’ALOFA – March 29, 2018: 3pm (SPREP/Enviro News): The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way.
The Protocol was entered into force on 12 October 2014, 90 days after the date of deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification.
There are currently five Pacific Island Parties that have ratified the protocol – the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa and the Marshall Islands.
Tonga’s Department of Environment hosted a one-day workshop on the topic last week here in Nuku’alofa.
SPREP facilitated the workshop.
During the opening remarks, the Chief Executive Officer for MEIDECC Mr. Paula Ma’u said Tonga is pleased to work with SPREP on the issue.
“We are pleased to work together with the team from SPREP’s ABS Regional Project to empower us to confidently apply the requirements of the Nagoya Protocol for the benefits of our country. There is a Cabinet Submission which has been drafted by the Ministry to ratify the Nagoya Protocol and we are hoping to have the submission endorsed by the end of April, 2018. MEIDECC and the team from SPREP will work together to strengthen our bargaining power to address inequality of bargaining power to protect our biodiversity and claim sovereignty over our natural resources,” he said.
Ms. Ofa Kaisamy, SPREP ABS Legal Adviser said Tonga shares the same aspirations and hopes like other Pacific islands.
“Tonga shares the same aspiration as many other Pacific Island countries to protect and sustainably manage their biological resources. It is for this purpose that the technical team from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is in Nuku’alofa to help the country map out ABS stakeholders, take a stocktake of ABS legal capacities and identify gaps to build capacities for implementation of the Nagoya Protocol,” she said.
“Tonga is currently not a Party to the Treaty and it is through the assistance of SPREP that the country will undertake necessary consultations and develop a roadmap”.
The Access and Benefit Sharing Regional Project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is being executed by the SPREP in 14 Pacific Island countries of which Tonga is also a beneficiary. The aim of this project is to support individual countries on technical matters related to ABS as well be a regional hub for ABS matters and promoting of the Nagoya Protocol, ratification and implementation.
From 19th March – 26th March, the technical team from SPREP have consulted key partners and worked closely with government ministries to prepare information on implications of ratifying the Nagoya Protocol and help the government develop a roadmap for implementation.
These discussions include meetings and consultations and a national workshop to raise awareness on the ratification process, implementation on of the Nagoya Protocol, identifying the ABS status of Tonga and carrying out assessments on the capacity building needs for implementation.
The Project has an emphasis to assist Parties in Ratification and Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and to support the Pacific Island countries (PICs) to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation (ABS).
The four main components of the project include:
- Baseline research and analysis to identify common assets, issues, and needs between countries.
- Assisting of countries to ratify the Protocol through supporting national authorities.
- Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol through the establishment of an enabling environment for implementing of basic provisions of the Nagoya Protocol.
- Providing for regional coordination, technical support and capacity building.
The ABS Regional project began in June 2017 and will end in December 2020.