Nagoya Protocol Demands More Work From Namibia

“ONE of the biggest tasks facing Namibia now after acceding to the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity, will be to implement the provisions of this international environmental legal instrument”, says a senior biodiversity expert in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Namibia acceded recently to the Nagoya Protocol.

Whichl calls for the fair and equitable benefit sharing from genetic resources.

Kauna Schroeder, the principal project co-ordinator and aiser to the Office of the environmental commissioner, said there is a need to do a number of things aimed at implementing the protocol.

One of these is creating an access and benefit sharing unit (in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism) and making rural communities aware of the value of genetic resources.

She said communities also need to be trained on how to access the resources.

Schroeder said Namibia’s Bill on Access and Benefit Sharing and Related Traditional Knowledge is likely to be approved before the end of this year.

“We will provide the guidance as to how things should be done, but it will be up to the communities to decide how the benefits should be shared. They need to be organised,” she said.

Jonas Nghishidi, the national co-ordinator for the Biodiversity Management and Climate Change project in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, said for the ABS issues and related traditional knowledge to succeed in Namibia, communities need to have the deeper traditional and related knowledge of the genetic resources in their areas.

Namibia was chosen by Africa to negotiate on behalf of the African Group of Negotiators in the process that led to the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol.

This team of Namibian negotiators consisted of Schroeder, Director of Tourism Sem Shikongo and well-known environmentalist, Pierre du Plessis.

Absalom Shigwedha is a Namibian freelance environmental journalist.

Source : The Namibian