Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) has several challenges to face in Guyana, as it was discussed in the Knowledge Café event carried last November 28th at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of this country. The event was an activity within the Regional GEF/UNEP Project on ABS in the Latin American and Caribbean countries, executed by IUCN-Sur.
Studies show that more than 80% of Guyana is still covered by forests, where a rich biodiversity is extended along the coastal-marine areas, mangroves, savannas, sand, montane and cloud forests among others habitats. Nine Native American indigenous peoples are also spread across this multi-cultural country, adding an important role to the ABS discussion linked with the Traditional Knowledge that the local communities have in the management of its biological resources.
For this reason, it is important to increase the technical capacities as a key element for the implementation of ABS in Guyana, as it was mentioned by the National Commissioner on Protected Areas, Mr. Damian Fernandez. In the same way, Arturo Mora, from the IUCN’s Regional Office for South America, pointed the necessity of promoting ABS policies among several stakeholders, including local communities.
The event was technically guided through the presentations on key elements on ABS and the Nagoya Protocol by the Dr. Jorge Cabrera, ABS expert from the National Costa Rican Institute for Biodiversity – INBIO, where he also highlighted the importance of Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights.
To sum up, the event chaired by Dr. Indarjit Ramdass and discussed among the participants decided that the next steps for the implementation of actions on ABS include the alignment of the draft legislation with the Nagoya Protocol adopted in CBD COP10 that regulates the ABS issue. The UNEP/GEF ABS LAC Project will follow closely these steps.
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