General Information

Project phase

The ABS Initiative started in 2006. The current phase runs from April 2015 – July 2022.


The ABS Initiative has supported negotiations on ABS since 2006, and the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol since 2010. In the current project phase, the Initiative focuses its support on three core processes: 

  • developing and revising ABS legislative and regulatory frameworks,
  • negotiating fair and equitable ABS agreements, and
  • effectively integrating indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in respective negotiation processes.


The ABS Initiative aims to help create enabling environments in which genetic resources and the associated traditional knowledge are utilized in a sustainable way, while ABS delivers economic and development opportunities to all relevant stakeholders. It aims to achieve this objective by contributing to functional national ABS systems, IPLC involvement in ABS agreements and the establishment of ABS compliant value chains in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. 

Geographical scope

The ABS Initiative supports a number of partner countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. These include: Benin, Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar, Namibia, Côte d’Ivoire was selected as the ABS Initiative’s most recent partner country in March 2019. 

Target groups

Target groups include policy makers and regulators, indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs), private sector (SMEs, cooperatives, corporations, etc.) and academia (e.g. universities, research centers). 


Governance and management

The ABS Capacity Development Initiative is implemented by the Secretariat of the ABS Initiative. The Secretariat has been commissioned to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and is based at GIZ headquarters in Eschborn, Germany. The Secretariat manages the ABS Initiative and serves as focal point for member and partner relations. It is responsible for implementing activities and ensuring the financial and institutional stability. 

Three regional steering committees provide general guidance and advice to the Secretariat of the ABS Initiative on the capacity development process and implementation in the respective regions. They constitute the main decision making body of the ABS Initiative and meet at least once a year.

The committees' members include donor representatives and appointed stakeholder representatives, excluding members of the Secretariat. Stakeholder representatives are appointed in their personal capacities based on their function, experience and ability to represent stakeholder interests.

Host and donors

The ABS Initiative is hosted by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), funded by several governments and international organizations, and managed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Donors are: the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development(BMZ), the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union (through the 11th European Development Fund, under the ACP - EU Partnership Agreement) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Cooperation (SECO). 

Further details