Access and Benefit Sharing

Introduction

The Caribbean islands are of critical importance for global biodiversity conservation as large percentages of each species group are endemic to the region and often to particular islands and levels of endemism are very high in the region: thus, 50 per cent of the plant life of the Caribbean is unique (UNEP, 2010). These high valued genetic resources in the Caribbean are under threat due to land degradation, climate change, pollution from nutrients, unsustainable use and invasive alien species. The Nagoya Protocol offers the opportunity to make the best possible use of these genetic resources, generate and share benefits derived from their utilization, and return some of the revenue generated from these activities to the protection of the resources and the development of the countries where they were sourced.

The Project Goal is to support countries of the Caribbean to facilitate access to their genetic resources and benefit sharing in a fair and equitable way, in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, and more specifically, the Project Objective seeks the uptake of the Nagoya Protocol and implementation of key measures to make the protocol operational in Caribbean countries. The project aims to overcome barriers linked to poor understanding of the Nagoya Protocol and ABS and the implications of protocol ratification and requirements for implementation.

Component 1

This component will build knowledge between countries of shared assets and generate technical information that can later be used to build cohesive policies at the national level and collaboratively at the regional level, such as a Scientific Study on Bio-prospecting in the Caribbean Region and Stocktaking of the main Applications of Traditional Knowledge in the region, which would be used to inform the formulation of National ABS Policies and a Regional ABS Policy. The component also will identify, and where possible set up, sustainability mechanisms for supporting countries in future, well past the life of the project by creating networks and coordination mechanisms such as a Virtual ABS Policy Forum and project website.

Component 2

This will assist countries to take steps and decisions conducive to ratification of the Nagoya Protocol including support for developing the policy, legal, and regulatory frameworks governing ABS, assistance to improve their understanding of the implications of the Nagoya Protocol ratification in terms of adjustments in the legal and institutional framework, assistance in the development of draft ABS Bills and regulations, and in the development of regional strategic priorities for Nagoya Protocol implementation in the region.

Component 3

This component aims to assist countries in developing the tools and guidelines required to implement the basic measures of the Nagoya Protocol. These include providing assistance to build awareness among stakeholders that are key for Nagoya Protocol implementation to be effective, especially parliamentarians, officers of frontline ministries, indigenous communities and researchers. Support will also be provided for the development of institutional agreements and administrative procedures for ABS Agreements such as Prior Informed Consent, Mutually Agreed Terms, and Benefit Sharing, and capacity building to create a Roster of Caribbean ABS Experts. This component will also provide support in the drafting of methodologies that could be used by the countries for creating Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources inventories, and will support strategies that could bring sustainability to the project results, such as a regional database of research activities in the OECS and broader Caribbean region, linked to existing Clearing House Mechanisms (CHMs) or institutional web pages in the region.

Component 4

This will bring together the participating countries at least twice during the life of the project to allow for the maximum level of exchange and networking, and will allow the Executing Agency, the Implementing Agency, and the executing partners in countries and regionally to better coordinate actions to deliver assistance to the countries and come together in a coherent and united front on ABS related issues. This component also covers monitoring, and evaluation activities, as well as strategic project planning and coordination. Component 5 Project Management will include basic services needed for project execution, as well as costs related to administrative support for project activities such as the generation of financial project reports. As well, it will include costs related to office, communication, IT services, and other logistic expenses.

Implementation

UNEP will be the Implementing Agency of the project and the IUCN will be Executing Agency. A Regional Steering Committee will be appointed with representation from all project countries, the GEF Implementing Agency, the Project’s Executing Agency, and selected regional partners.