About the three projects
The ABS Capacity Development Initiative
"Fly" with us through 10 years of Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) capacity building. This multimedia experience includes films, photos and interviews presented to donors, partners and ABS stakeholders during a reception dinner on the occassion of the 10th anniversary of the ABS Initiative at the Thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-13) in Cancun, Mexico from 4 to 17 December 2016.
ABS compliant biotrade in South(ern) Africa
About Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS)
A short animated video clip to explain ABS and the Nagoya Protocol within in 5 minutes. It is meant to be screened as a curtain raiser at meetings, conferences and workshops.
ABS Simply Explained - Videos in French, Spanish, German, Bislama, Malagasy
Digital Sequence Information (DSI) & ABS
DSI - Simply Explained - Above is a short, animated video clip explaining the issue of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources and illustrating its importance for the CBD’s three objectives. It explains the concept of DSI and describes how DSI is being generated, used and stored.
Points to consider when assessing policy options for DSI - Above is a short video on key outcomes elaborated at an informal global experts dialogue on DSI provided with a view to support the science-policy process on DSI.
DSI Retreat Den Hague
Informal Retreat on Digital Sequence Information (DSI)
On behalf of the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) and the Norwegian Government the Informal Retreat on Digital Sequence Information (DSI) was organized by the ABS Capacity Development Initiative (ABS Initiative) and hosted by the Government of the Neth-erlands. The Retreat was held at NH Atlantic Den Haag in The Hague, Netherlands, from 10th to 11th November 2022.
Global DSI Dialogues
DSI Reflection Webinar: Preparing for the CBD negotiations on DSI
After a series of webinars (two Global and regional webinars based on time zones of Asia/Pacific, Africa/Europe and the Americas) we finished with a reflection webinar, where areas of convergence and divergence were identified and points of further consideration were presented and discussed.
Find the French and Spanish recordings of the webinar below:
Reports from the 1st DSI Dialogue
Report from the 2nd DSI Dialogue
Webinar series on Digital Sequence Information (DSI) on Genetic Resources and Policy
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity offered a global webinar series and online discussion forum to share information related to DSI, in collaboration with the ABS Capacity Development Initiative.
This series is informal and not part of the formal process. It is organized by the co-chairs of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework with the support of the Secretariat to facilitate broader understanding and exchange of ideas among parties and stakeholders.
This webinar series aims to foster a common understanding of DSI and its importance and linkages to:
- the Convention,
- the Nagoya Protocol, and
- the Sustainable Development Goals.
This webinar series is open to everyone interested in understanding how DSI is being addressed under the CBD, in preparation for the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
Webinar 1: Understanding DSI - This webinar focused on the exchange of technical information regarding DSI. It did not serve as a platform for negotiations, or understanding different views or questions related to the scope of DSI or regulatory options.
Click on the link below for the French version of the webinar.
Webinar 2: DSI under the CBD - Process and recent outcomes related to DSI on genetic resources under the CBD.
Webinar 3: Policy Options for ABS and DSI - This webinar presented different policy options for access and benefit-sharing and DSI on genetic resources emerging from various studies and dialogues, being proposed by different actors and stakeholders.
Webinar 4: Reflection on the co-chairs panel - At CBD COP 14, Parties committed to working towards resolving their divergence of views regarding benefit- sharing from the use of DSI on genetic resources. To broaden and deepen the science- and policy-based process around this topic, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative has organized a reflection webinar on 24 March 2021 to discuss potential criteria for assessing DSI policy options, among other topics.
Click on the links below for the French and Spanish version of the webinar:
Technical Webinars on DSI
This series of webinars focuses on technical aspects of digital sequence information (DSI) and aims to support the science-policy process agreed at CBD CoP 14.
Click on the link below for the French recording of the webinar:
Webinar 1: The Role of IPLCs and associated traditional knowledge in the DSI debate - The objective of this technical DSI webinar was to make everyone aware of how key DSI issues are relevant for and affect indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) and traditional knowledge. The current science- and policy-based process on DSI under the CBD did not yet specifically address this important topic.
Click on the links below for the French recording of the webinar and the webinar report in English:
Webinar 2: Assessing capacity development needs for the use of DSI - The general importance of developing additional technical, human and institutional capacity, especially in developing countries, to generate and use digital sequence information is widely acknowledged in the discussions around DSI. But what would this mean in practice? Who will provide it, who will receive it, who will pay for it? How does this relate to wider capacity development and technology transfer measures under the CBD and its Protocols? And what role can capacity development play in sharing the benefits arising from the use of DSI? All these questoins are addressed in the webinar recorded above.
Click on the links below for the French recording of the webinar and the webinar report in English:
Webinar 3: Contribution of DSI in the development of commercial applications - One of the key topics in the international discussions around DSI is sharing the benefits of commercial utilization and products based on DSI. To increase common understanding the webinar looked at ways in which DSI is accessed and used for commercial purposes, discussed the intellectual property aspects of commercial DSI use, and examined potential benefit sharing options for specific examples of products using DSI.
Click on the link below for the French version of the webinar and/or the webinar report.
Webinar 4: Open Access; Terms & Conditions
The objective of this webinar was to contribute to a greater common understanding of: - the concept of Open Science – its manifestations and limitations - the value placed on open access to DSI by key stakeholders - the practicalities and implications of imposing terms and conditions on access to DSI, and potential options for tracking and tracing access to and use of DSI.
Click on the links below for the French recording of the webinar and the webinar report.
Webinar 5: Ttraceability of digital sequence information on genetic resources (DSI):
Background: The first formal discussions on DSI in the context of the Post2020 Global Biodiversity Framework took place at OEWG 3.1 and will be continued by the Co-chairs’ Informal Advisory Group on DSI (DSI IAG) before the face-to-face negotiations planned for Geneva in January 2022. One main topic raised in the discussions dealt with the traceability of DSI. In the context of the bilateral ABS model of the Nagoya Protocol, traceability was regarded by some participants as essential to ensure sharing the benefits arising from the use of DSI with providers. This topic discusses this important issue.
Click on the link below for the webinar report:
Webinar 6: Report of the informal Co-Chairs’ Advisory Group on DSI (DSI IAG)
Established at the 3rd session of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the DSI IAG held four working meetings, aimed at assisting the OEWG Co-Chairs in conducting informal consultations on DSI.
The report contains:
- a proposed multi-criteria analysis framework for evaluating DSI policy options
- a co-leads’ summary of the discussions on potential convergences and apparent divergences
- proposals for potential further work before CoP 15
In this webinar the report of the DSI IAG is presented, followed by a panel discussion with opportunities for questions and comments from the audience.
Click on the links below for the French and Spanish recording of the webinar:
Consideration of Digital Sequence Information (DSI) in the CBD and other UN-fora
The global webinar took stock of the recent and on-going DSI decisions and negotiations in the aforementioned fora. Experts have offered insights on the implications of these decisions and consider the prospects for implementing a set of global governance mechanisms for information-based research and development. The expert panel has addressed following:
- how to deal with non-monetary benefits in a multilateral system;
- how to organise monetary benefit-sharing;
- how to link capacity development to the DSI system; and
- how to realise a DSI system that spans the different international fora.
Monitoring system & ABS
This animated video clip explains the ABS Monitoring System as provided for by the Nagoya Protocol.
Webinar: ABS Monitoring and Compliance – Nagoya provisions, practical experiences and potential solutions
Biodiversity is the source of traditional applications and industrial innovation. This film shows in two parts how equitable biodiversity-based value chains can contribute to conservation and sustainable use through natural stewardship of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC) and the enforcement of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). At the same time, biodiversity-based value chains allow more value addition for communities by transforming raw materials and generate jobs and income in rural areas. Women can particularly benefit economically and socially.
Conservation & ABS
This short video explores the relationship between biodiversity conservation and ABS, including how this relationship varies depending upon the nature of commercial use of genetic and biological resources.
Sustainable Development Goals & ABS
Implementing the Nagoya Protocol
ABS Implementation in the Pacific
Webinar Series: MAPPING AND FOSTERING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NAGOYA PROTOCOL IN AFRICA
Webinar 1: Introduction and overall options to implement ABS
Webinar 2: How to get started
Webinar 3: Choice of suitable legal instruments
Webinar 4: Special considerations and relevant permits
Webinar 5: Expeditious Access in Case of Emergencies - Awareness Raising Session
National Studies on ABS Implementation
In collaboration with the Governments of Brazil, India and South Africa, the ABS Initiative commissioned national studies to review each country’s experiences with ABS. Lessons learned from these experiences will inform the global implementation of the Protocol.
These studies provide background information in preparation for two dialogues organized respectively in India and South Africa. Based on these studies, comparative tables highlighting key elements of national ABS frameworks in each country were prepared.
International Dialogues on National Implementation
The first Dialogue on Practical Ways Forward for the Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol was hosted by the Government of South Africa on 30-31 January 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa and the second Dialogue on the same topic co-organized with the Ministry of Environment and Forests of India, from 4-6 August 2014 in Goa, India.
Both events served as successful international exchange platforms between representatives from a selection of countries.
The focus of the first dialogue was to learn from past experience with ABS implementation with a view to inform the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.
The second dialogue dealt with key challenges and the instruments/approaches that are being considered by countries for the implementation of the Protocol, taking into account the lessons learned from past practice and obligations under the Nagoya Protocol.
The Nagoya CNA-Unit of the BfN organized an international exchange of information and experience, the “Vilm ABS Dialogue – Informing about Domestic Measures for Access to Genetic Resources” in 2017 and 2018 at the BfN-branch office on Vilm Island. The conferences gave an opportunity to identify and present best practices on available, clear and transparent access regulations with representatives of CNAs/National Focal Points (NFPs) of provider countries. The objective of the meetings was to allow users of genetic resources to be better informed by European CNAs regarding countries that have structured, clear, and transparent access measures in place.
African Union ABS Guidelines
The ABS Initiative supported, also based on the results a gap analysis, the development of the African Union (AU) policy and technical guidelines for the coordinated implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in Africa, endorsed by the 27th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU. The two documents provide strategic and practical step-by-step directions and tools to guide African countries in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.
Involvement of IPLCs
Biocultural Community Protocols: Guides - Toolkits - Lessons Learnt
Biocultural Community Protocols (BCPs) are instruments that set out clear terms and conditions to governments and the private, research, and non-profit sectors for engaging with indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) and accessing their local resources and knowledge. They are developed through culturally rooted, participatory decision-making processes within the communities and are based on communities’ customary norms, values, and laws. Here are a few resources produced by the ABS Initiative and its partners over the past years.
The ABS Picture Box - for community audiences
Natural Justice and the ABS Capacity Development Initiative introduce a new tool to be used to communicate the concept and process of ABS to community audiences. The ABS Picture Box is a series of images intended to explain what this concept is, outline the process of consent and ensure a fair and equitable outcome for those communities that may be entering such a process.
The tool can be used by individuals, non-governmental organisations, civil society groups, community-based organisations or others working with indigenous peoples and local communities across Africa. It is an interactive tool containing a series of pictures and an accompanying manual, which will help the person to broadly explain each aspect of ABS and the roles and opportunities of indigenous peoples and local communities in its implementation at country level.
The ABS Picture Box is specifically intended for communities that have been or will be involved in ABS in some way in the near future. The goal is to ensure that they are well-equipped and empowered to play a meaningful role in ABS implementation and ultimately to ensure fair and equitable benefit-sharing if their traditional knowledge and genetic resources are utilised.
ABS (briefly) explained
Access and benefit-sharing recognises that indigenous peoples and local communities are the custodians of their lands and natural resources. Their traditional knowledge and practices, which are embedded in their cultural heritage, play an important role in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as do their customary laws and local governance structures.
Under the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, the utilisation of communities’ knowledge and biological / genetic resources can be governed under formal contracts, ABS Agreements, which benefit the community and ensure that their prior and informed consent is attained by those seeking to utilise their knowledge or resources. ABS can promote equity, fairness and the respect for customary and traditional knowledge.
Using the ABS Picture Box
Walking a path with a community towards the implementation of ABS legislation can be long and difficult. The first point of contact can be eased through the correct information-sharing on ABS, which these picture cards can facilitate.
We encourage anyone using the picture cards to print them out, together with the manual, to be used on site when interacting with the community. They are available in an A1 or A3 format in both English and French.
A training using these cards may take a few days. It is important to familiarise yourself with the contents ahead of time and ensure you are well versed in the ABS laws of the country in which the community resides.
Use of the ABS Picture Box is for the benefit of the communities. The ABS Picture Box shall not be sold, nor a profit derived from its use, except in relation to pre-determined facilitation fees.
Please note that the ABS Picture Box is still in its development phase. We are currently gathering first experiences and would be grateful for your feedback. If you have any comments or recommendations, please contact Natural Justice (info(at)naturaljustice.org) or the ABS Initiative (abs-initiative(at)giz.de).
A3 files for Picture Cards for printing
A1 files for Picture Cards (for printing)
Webinar series: Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities‘ involvement in ABS implementation
Co-organized by Natural Justice and the ABS Initiative
- 07 October 2020: Practical advice for facilitating the development of ABS-related community protocols
- 12 October 2020: Using community protocols for ABS implementation
- 19 October 2020: Policy guidance for the recognition of community protocols in national policy and legal frameworks
Sector Briefs: Access and Benefit Sharing Key Points for Policy-Makers
This series of briefs on six different industrial sectors (agriculture, industrial biotechnology, botanicals, cosmetics, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals) provides governments, companies, researchers, communities and other ABS stakeholders with background information to assist with the development of ABS measures to implement the Nagoya Protocol. The briefs are organised around key points on trends and practices in markets, research and development - indirectly and directly related to ABS. With many graphics illustrating important facts, figures and contexts the briefs are easy to understand. They were co-produced by the ABS Initiative, People and Plants International and the University of Cape Town.
Biodiversity in the Patent Systems of Several Countries - Studies
In the Pacific, the ABS Initiative under the lead of Daniel Robinson has benn undertaken so called ‘patent landscaping’ reasearch, also known as ‘patent mapping’. This has been a useful tool to identify commercial and academic research and development on ‘genetic resources’ and their derivates. The results highlight the extent and scope of patenting of these resources and emphasise the relevance of ABS systems to Pacific Island nations.
By One World Analytics (Paul Oldham, Colin Barnes, Stephen Hall), 2013
This is a selection of country studies of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in the patent system of relevance to Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa
Interactive Graphics and Posters of ABS Cases
Through concrete examples, these interactive infographics and posters will help you to comprehend the context to which ABS is relevant. You can track the course of (potential) ABS cases, understand the opportunities provided by the Nagoya Protocol. A particular focus is on the relations between users and providers of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, and other stakeholders.
Interactive graphics on ABS cases (2020)
Posters on ABS cases (2015)