The National Biodiversity Center, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Serbithang conducted a series of regional consultation workshop on “Draft Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Policy of Bhutan” in Gelephu, Mongar, Bumthang and Paro. It also covered the relevant stockholders like College of Natural Resources, Lobesa and Sherubtse College, Kanglung.
The workshop was organized to familiarize the relevant stakeholders on the policy and also to generate feedbacks for its improvement before submission to Policy and Planning Committee, MoAF and further to the Cabinet.
In order to secure benefits from the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources as well as to enable the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, clear policy directives are critical. Therefore this Access and Benefit Sharing Policy is developed to guide access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge and ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from their research and commercial utilization. It will also enable national capacity-building and contribute to the vision outlined in Vision 2020, to encourage the wise use of natural resources as a development asset to contribute not only to the process of sustainable social and economic development of the country but also to benefit humankind.
The workshop was attended by participants comprising Chief Forestry Officers from Territorial Divisions, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, Dzongkhag RNR Sector Heads, Dzongkhag Environmental Officers, Researchers from RNR RDCs, Dzongkhag Yarge Tshogdu Chairmans, local healers and representatives of Community Forest and Non-wood Forest Product groups.
The development of the Policy was facilitated by the services of three international legal experts from Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway and Natural Justice-Lawyers for Communities and the Environment, South Africa.
The workshop was very useful in generating feedbacks. The participants really supported the policy and said it was very timely. The major concern from the stakeholders was on the benefit sharing mechanism and development of community protocols on access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.