Fields of intervention (2020/2021)
In line with Benin’s ABS strategy and the ABS Initiative’s fields of work, the ABS Initiative’s support currently covers the following fields of intervention:
- Capacity building for relevant stakeholder groups to apply the Beninese ABS system
- The further development of the national ABS framework, including through the development of an ABS bill
- The conclusion of ABS agreements and the development of ABS-compliant value chains
From the outset, the Initiative’s partners in Benin have been applying a very participatory approach to the implementation of ABS and the Nagoya Protocol involving all relevant stakeholder groups in the country. In line with this approach, CeSaReN’s current activities involve a large amount of awareness raising, training and consultation activities with various actor groups, backed by technical inputs of national and international experts.
- Capacity building among local communities on their role and possibilities in the national ABS framework will be conducted.
- Awareness raising and capacity building activities will be conducted targeting stakeholders from the domestic research and private sectors as well as traditional healers to inform them about their roles and obligations as potential users and providers in the national ABS framework.
- Awareness raising will be continued among relevant government authorities to ensure the functioning of the ABS system.
- Benin intends to establish ABS checkpoints (as per Art. 15, 16 and 17 of the Nagoya Protocol) to monitor the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. To this end, the development of two regulations has been initiated.
- The representative structures of local communities are supported to adopt and apply their statutes that will allow communities to participate in monetary benefit-sharing as per the interim ABS framework.
- In order to develop a fully-fledged ABS law, preparations will be started through studies and workshops e.g. on the existing legal landscape and specific relevant topics such as digital sequence information. Based on these studies and discussions, the drafting of the ABS bill will be commissioned.
- The ad-hoc ABS committee is supported in the assessment of access requests. This includes the documentation of lessons learned from the interim ABS framework that will feed into the development of the ABS bill. Furthermore, these assessments will be used to identify value chains that may receive further in-depth support by the ABS Initiative.
- Local communities as providers of genetic resources and related traditional knowledge are supported in the conclusion of memorandums of understanding with interested users. These memorandums of understanding are a requirement of Benin’s interim ABS framework to ensure that local communities’ prior informed consent has been obtained before an access request is filed with the national authorities.
MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS (AS OF JANUARY 2021)
- Development of the national ABS Strategy (2013, officially adopted in 2015)
- Establishment of a national ABS Committee, which has been instrumental in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol until today
- Signature (2011) and ratification (2014) of the Nagoya Protocol following awareness raising activities with political decision-makers
- Development of the interim national ABS framework (Directives APA, officially adopted in 2017)
- Development of a road map for the elaboration of an ABS bill
- Development of a visualisation and practical guide informing potential users about Benin’s ABS procedure
- Project on the mutually supportive implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (three-year project conducted with the support of the Darwin Initative and funded by the UK Department for International Development and executed in cooperation with Bioversity International, 2015-2018)
- Development of Benin’s first biocultural community protocol in Bonou, Ouémé region (endorsed by the municipal government in 2019)
- Institutionalising the involvement of the local level in ABS
- Pilot activities on the valorisation of local traditional knowledge and related genetic resources: cooperation of traditional healers and domestic research laboratories
- Conclusion of Benin’s first ABS agreements and the generation of its first Internationally Recognized Certificate of Compliance (2020)
- Preparatory work for the development of a valorisation strategy
- Preparatory work for the development of a framework for the protection of traditional knowledge