Tonga attends Nagoya Protocol workshops in Nadi

NUKU’ALOFA – July 31, 2018: 4.05pm (Enviro News): Tonga has been involved in a workshops discussing the Nagoya Protocol in Nadi, Fiji in the last weeks.
The first workshop on “Establishing Measures to Implement the Nagoya Protocol” was facilitated and organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
The Director of Environment Ms Lupe Matoto, MEIDECC’s Senior Legal Officer Calvy Aonima and Principal Environment Officer Siosiua Latu attended the meeting with other regional participants.

Director of Environment Ms Lupe Matoto speaking at the meeting last week. Photo: OFA KAISAMY

Focus was on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS).

The second workshop is currently on at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, also organised by SPREP.
Director Ms Matoto and Principal Environment Officer Mr Latu are part of the ‘Training on Mutually agreed Terms (MAT) for access to genetic resources supporting the effective implementation of the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing’.
The current meeting will run until August 3.

Tonga is yet to ratify the Nagoya Protocol but progress is being made towards that.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

The Nagoya Protocol on ABS was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and entered into force on 12 October 2014, 90 days after the deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification. Its objective is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The Nagoya Protocol will create greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources by:

  • Establishing more predictable conditions for access to genetic resources.
  • Helping to ensure benefit-sharing when genetic resources leave the country providing the genetic resources

Mr Siosiua Latu of Tonga’s Environment Department sharing his view at the Nadi workshop last week. Photo: OFA KAISAMY

By helping to ensure benefit-sharing, the Nagoya Protocol creates incentives to conserve and sustainably use genetic resources, and therefore enhances the contribution of biodiversity to development and human well-being.

The Nagoya Protocol sets out core obligations for its contracting Parties to take measures in relation to access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing and compliance.

Access obligations

Domestic-level access measures are to:

  • Create legal certainty, clarity and transparency
  • Provide fair and non-arbitrary rules and procedures
  • Establish clear rules and procedures for prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms
  • Provide for issuance of a permit or equivalent when access is granted
  • Create conditions to promote and encourage research contributing to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use
  • Pay due regard to cases of present or imminent emergencies that threaten human, animal or plant health
  • Consider the importance of genetic resources for food and agriculture for food security

Benefit-sharing obligations

Domestic-level benefit-sharing measures are to provide for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources with the contracting party providing genetic resources.

Utilization includes research and development on the genetic or biochemical composition of genetic resources, as well as subsequent applications and commercialization. Sharing is subject to mutually agreed terms. Benefits may be monetary or non-monetary such as royalties and the sharing of research results.

Compliance obligations

Specific obligations to support compliance with the domestic legislation or regulatory requirements of the contracting party providing genetic resources, and contractual obligations reflected in mutually agreed terms, are a significant innovation of the Nagoya Protocol. Contracting Parties are to:

  • Take measures providing that genetic resources utilized within their jurisdiction have been accessed in accordance with prior informed consent, and that mutually agreed terms have been established, as required by another contracting party
  • Cooperate in cases of alleged violation of another contracting party’s requirements
  • Encourage contractual provisions on dispute resolution in mutually agreed terms
  • Ensure an opportunity is available to seek recourse under their legal systems when disputes arise from mutually agreed terms
  • Take measures regarding access to justice
  • Take measures to monitor the utilization of genetic resources after they leave a country including by designating effective checkpoints at any stage of the value-chain: research, development, innovation, pre-commercialization or commercialization

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