Day 3 - May 20
Facilitators started the second day of the Community Dorf by welcoming new participants. Following a recap of the previous day, there was a report back from the Indigenous Forum, which happened over the weekend. Discussions included how to engage country delegates, the issue of protected areas, access and benefit sharing, and enforcement of CBD outcomes at the national level (there was a noted lack of enforcement mechanisms).
The morning session of the Community Dorf focused on access and benefit sharing began with a video entitled The Teff Cereal: Report on an Ethiopian-Dutch Bioprospecting Case, an introductory case of successful sharing of benefits accruing from traditional ecological knowledge. Gladman Chibememe, a community participant from Zimbabwe, followed with a first hand perspective of working within the CBD structure on ABS (specifically, Article 8j). Among his points were: the importance of developing an international regime for ABS (note: the CBD is to have one in place by 2010), the need for prior informed consent of communities, and the need for communities to give input into shaping the regime (noted opportunities included the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, the World Intellectual Property Organization, etc.). The critical issues identified around ABS included: how to make an international regime legally binding, the scope of the ABS regime, the connection between traditional ecological knowledge and commercialization, the discrepancy between individual intellectual property and group intellectual property (the latter being more applicable in terms of TK), and the question of who should receive benefits and how to distribute them equitably.
Partners from the GTZ followed with a presentation on the Dutch-German ABS Capacity Initiative for Africa. The initiative was recognized for bringing together various stakeholders (government, communities, NGOs, and the private sector) to discuss in workshops to raise awareness of ABS issues and build lasting and effective networks. Members of GTZ offered their support and feedback on ideas from participants, in the Dorf and beyond. One GTZ member stressed the importance of community members having a clear idea of what they want and what they need from government delegates before meeting with them.
Next, a presentation on the Hoodia ABS Agreement was delivered by Kabir Bavikatte of Lawyers for Communities and the Environment. The example of the commercialization of hoodia - a cactus used as a hunger suppressant by the San of Southern - for pharmaceutical uses in the diet industry was used to discuss the issues of ABS and biopiracy. An agreement was eventually reached between the South Africa San Council and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to share benefits from commercialization. The presentation noted that countries need to have regulations in place, that currently communities are operating in a vacuum, there is a shortage of regional coordination, and development of an international regime is critical.
A community representative of SAMBANDH followed with a presentation on an Indian initiative that successfully documents traditional knowledge, conserves medicinal plants, and is encouraging a revitalization of local health traditions. Following this a presentation was made on COMPAS, an informal network for traditional sharing and influencing policy. The emphasis was on a more participatory approach to natural resource management and the operational of regional centres where objectives are documented.
One participant commented that he had been to several meetings on ABS in CBD, but this was the most illuminating.
The Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Session commenced with a welcome from Penny Stock of the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN)-host of the session. Emphasis was placed on the importance of tropical marine ecosystems-considered one of the most productive ecosystems in the world by providing sustenance and jobs for surrounding communities; however, these ecosystems are most at risk.
The six presenters of the session were as follows: James Graham of Crab Bay Community Resource Management Initiative (Vanuatu), Emma Celeste Flor Gil of Asociacion de Mujeres de Isabela "Pescado Azul" (Ecuador), Gildas Andriamalala of The Village of Andavadoaka (Madagascar), Gilberto Naranjo of CoopeTarcoles R.L-Cooperativa de Pescadores Artesenales de Tarcoles (Costa Rica), Nelson Bako of Arnavone Community Marine Conservation Area (Solomon Islands), and Benny Gowep of Sepik Wetlands Management Initiative (Papua New Guinea). An overarching concern throughout presentations and questions posed by the audience involved the role local and national governments can play in assisting communities. A number of presenters noted the need for tenure agreements, government recognition of local leadership, and community participation in management and monitoring processes of marine ecosystems. Communities also asked that local and national governments help in implementing and actively enforcing legislation and measures needed to successfully conserve marine resources.
The importance of education, capacity-building and market linkages were repeated by many throughout the session. Raising awareness among locals of the importance of biodiversity conservation along with building the capacity of locals to pursue alternative, biodiversity-friendly businesses are necessary. Eco-tourism is one example. Understanding what the market demands as well as value-added production of goods and services produced from environments were identified as reasons for success. Asociacion de Mujeres de Isabela "Pescado Azul" mentioned a need for funds for investment and business growth.
Benefit-sharing was a concern raised multiple times with gender-equity stressed by a number of organizations. Women inclusion was expressed as not only good for egalitarianism but necessary in implementing success. An issue of balancing community interests against government interests was raised repeatedly. Penny Stock questioned whether protected areas are good for communities or good for conservation; many times conservation comes first and that balance needs to be redressed. NGOs were mentioned as notable mediators in reconciling government and community interests.
Community Identified Themes
20 May 2008
Access and Benefit Sharing
No international regime should come without consulting communities
Multilateral agencies should engage national governments to consult with communities through processes like those provided by the Equator Initiative
Model agreements do exist for material transfer and benefit sharing, but more work is needed
Traditional communities connect a spiritual value to biodiversity that needs to be recognized
There is conflict between the value that intellectual property rights are able to provide (individual and monetary) and the application in communities (shared and spiritual values). Communities need to be consulted before commercialization.
Questions of Interest
Certificate of origin or material or knowledge so that benefits can be shared back with communities.
Compliance mechanism is needed to ensure that prior informed consent is adhered to.
Marine and Coastal Biodiversity
Government support is necessary for community work to succeed, and NGOs play an important role in bringing these two together
Gender equity and family involvement is necessary for success of community initiatives
Community conserved areas have value over protected areas by providing people economic benefits and avoiding conflicts that would otherwise arise.
Community tenure was a common/key factor behind the success of initiatives presented. Favorable government policy is similarly important.