Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. Lawyers and public policy experts from COMIFAC region receive training on drafting of ABS measures



15 lawyers and public policy experts have received training on how to formulate policies and develop ABS-related legislative, administrative and policy measures.


Since the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) in October 2014, many countries have been working actively to operationalize the protocol. A major challenge to the implementation of the Protocol is the need to mobilize the requisite capacities to support countries that are seeking to amend or establish new legal, administrative or political measures at the domestic level. It is against this backdrop that the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), with funding from the Japanese Fund for Biodiversity, has built a joint capacity building program to support the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.


 In collaboration with the IDLO and the SCBD, COMIFAC hosted a sub-regional capacity building workshop for lawyers and public policy experts of COMIFAC member countries from 16 to 20 April 2018, to Douala in Cameroon, on how to draft measures for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. A total of eight COMIFAC member countries were represented, namely Burundi, Cameroon, the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad. The workshop was held with the financial and technical support of the SCBD, IDLO, the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat, UNDP, the Japanese Fund for Biodiversity, the European Union, GEF and GIZ through the "ABS Implementation in COMIFAC countries" Project.



The workshop enriched participants’ knowledge over the course of eight (08) modules, namely: legal reform, policy development, institutional structure, access to genetic resources, compliance, support measures, benefit sharing, indigenous peoples and local communities.



World café sessions provided the setting for knowledge sharing in pairs on various countries’ experiences through analysis of different access regimes, linkages between intellectual property and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the use of genetic resources in various economic sectors, and progress and challenges facing ABS measures.


In addition, through exercises, country representatives assessed the status of implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in their respective countries, and also conducted an analysis of the stakeholders, gaps, selection of legal measures and implementation of reform plans.



Furthermore, practical skills sessions were held around themes such as leadership, facilitation and communication to equip participants to provide better advice to governments and national stakeholders on issues relating to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.

 At the close of the workshop, the participants pledged to help move the ABS process forward in their respective countries and also received two certificates of attendance each, including one for the online training course and another for the in-class training course.


Here are a few comments from the Trainers and Participants:



Olivier Rukundo, trainer, legal adviser at IDLO: During this training, which lasted the whole week, we trained lawyers who had received prior online training on various legal and technical aspects of the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.  They came to the workshop to delve deeper into the lessons learned from the online training. In my view, lawyers coming out of this course will be well grounded in the foundational elements of ABS implementation in Central Africa. However, this is just a first step, as there is still a need for further capacity building especially in the area of ABS contract negotiation and signing. We therefore need to step up our efforts to strengthen the capacities of our lawyers in this regard.





Henri Nyembe, Head of Legal Studies Division at the Ministry of Environment of the DRC: This training course provided us with lots of fresh and more importantly, essential knowledge for the discharge of our mission and functions. We are responsible for overseeing the formulation of legal texts, including bills, decrees, and regulatory texts. The theories and rules we learned about including next steps in preparing implementation texts relating to the Nagoya Protocol come at a very timely moment and will also come in handy as we deal with the realities of our work on the ground and enable us to effectively implement a transparent and clear ABS mechanism in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.




Mawale Estelle, works at the Legal Affairs Division of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development of Cameroon. I am a lawyer by training and have been involved in the ABS process almost since its launch in 2012. This lawyers’ training course and the different tools we were given are really very important and essential to our policy-making and strategy development and is already useful for developing legislative and regulatory modules. It prompts us to ask important questions, sparks debate among all the stakeholders and more importantly inspires us to take informed action. In other words, it enables us to assess the advantages and disadvantages of each mechanism we want to implement. It is thus a very useful course. We will do our best to act on the lessons learned. As part of my duties at the Ministry of Environment, we conduct a systematic review of all texts, be they legislative or regulatory texts. The texts are reviewed at our level before being forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Office, so there is work to be done at that level.


For more information please contact:

Bernadette Chantal, Edoa Epse WANDJA

Sustainable management of Congo Basin Forests Program

Technical Communications expert


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