“The rich biodiversity may have a unique role to play at the global level in maintaining the genetic material required to guarantee food supplies for a growing world population as well as in the development of new pharmaceutical products. Our rich biodiversity may confer upon us a distinct comparative advantage in the development of new and clean industries based upon bio-prospecting and genetic engineering industries that could help to place Bhutan in the vanguard of scientific advance for the benefit of humankind”. – (Bhutan 2020)
Under the directive of the Ministry, the Bio-prospecting Division was established at NBC in 2009. The Division consists of Traditional Documentation Unit, Bio-Exploration Unit and Research Unit.
The primary functions of the division are to:
- Develop policies and protocols on conservation and sustainable use of biological resources and associated Traditional Knowledge(TK).
- Coordinate implementaion of National Access and Benefit Sharing Policy and Biodiversity Act of Bhutan 2003.
- Serve as the national focal agency to regulate access to biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits rising from its utilization.
- Document, protect and appropriately utilize TK associated with biological resources.
- Conduct exploartion and research on biological resources of the country for natural product development and bio-discovery.
- Promote regional and international linkages for collaborative work in the field of bioprospecting and access and benefit sharing.