Ministry of Agriculture and Forest in collaboration with UNDP CO and by its implementing partners National Biodiversity Centre, MoAF, Menjong Sorig Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, MoH and Bio-Bhutan (Pvt. Company) launched nine nature-based products at the Taj Tashi, Thimphu in line with Access and Benefit Sharing framework on 5th April, 2018. The products were anti-wrinkle cream, massage balm, liniment, massage oil, perfume, soaps, and hand sanitizer to support sustainable rural livelihoods.
The launch was graced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Lyonchen Dasho Tshering Tobgay, and over 90 participants from different agencies, officials from international organizations, private and business entities, and local community representatives from the pilot Access and Benefit Sharing projects sites attended the product launch.
Speaking at the launch, the Honourable Prime Minister said, “the nature-based products represent the biodiversity hotspot” that Bhutan is known for globally. In line with the products, he said that the nature-based products are not just natural but they are also pristine products from the pristine natural environment of Bhutan. However, he cautioned that Bhutan should use its genetic resources sustainably and we must protect the associated traditional knowledge in using these biological resources.
Mr. Gerald Daly, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Bhutan, stressed on various threats to biodiversity that Bhutan faces. However, he added that Bhutan has in place various strategies supported both by policy and legal instruments. He said “The access to genetic resources and benefit mechanism (ABS) supported through this project is just one example of innovative approaches to complement the ongoing efforts of the government,” “The ABS mechanism puts ‘people’ at the center of conservation efforts by ensuring economic benefits.”
The ABS project is supporting collaborations among the government agencies and a private entity by engaging the local communities to support their livelihoods and promote conservation of biological diversity. As the benefits are beginning to manifest in the form of business, employment, research, technology transfer, and capacity development opportunities. The project will promote conservation of biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods and income generating opportunities for the communities.