The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago will be participating in the Regional Project entitled "Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in countries of the Caribbean Region."
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation (ABS Protocol) is an international agreement which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic/biological resources in a fair and equitable way. The Protocol is therefore designed to implement the third fundamental objective of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). The new Protocol was adopted at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in October 2010 and entered into force in October, 2014.
To date 71 countries are Party to the Protocol and have done so with the aim of capitilising on opportunities for increasing technological and technical capacity through bi- and multi-lateral agreements for the utilisation of genetic material obtained from native floral and fauna. However, in the Caribbean, only 2 countries have signed onto the Protocol. Trinidad and Tobago is not Party to the Protocol.
In order to support countries of the Caribbean to capitalise on opportunities to make the ABS Protocol operational in their national jurisdictions, the UNEP in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has developed a Caribbean Regional Project entitled "Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in countries of the Caribbean Region". This 3 year Project is to be implemented with grant funding from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and is being executed by the IUCN Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (ORMACC).
The project is to be rolled out in the following CARICOM countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- Trinidad and Tobago
It is expected that the Project will strengthen the capacity of the participating countries on the modalities of implementation of the Protocol through training by international and regional specialists. In summary, the main elements of the Project are:
- Legislative assessment and the examination of existing pertinent legal instruments
- Conduct of an inventory of potential genetic resources
- Training on ABS obligations and methodologies
- Public awareness and information
- Examination of issues regarding liability and redress
Trinidad and Tobago stands to benefit from the Project through instruction on the development of a more structured and controlled approach to research, conservation and trade in biological resources.
Click here for access to the Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in countries of the Caribbean Region Project Document.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO NATIONAL WORKSHOP
On April 28th, 2016 at the Trinidad Hilton & Conference Centre, local stakeholders (UTT, UWI, Ministry of Legal Affairs, EMA, Ministry of Planning and Development and others) gathered together at the "Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in countries in the Caribbean Region" Project - Trinidad and Tobago National Workshop to discuss:
- ABS and the Nagoya Protocol;
- ABS in the Caribbean Region;
- The IUCN ABS Caribbean Project;
- The Project Work Plan for Trinidad and Tobago;
- The role of National Agencies in Project Implementation
|Dr. David Persaud addresses attendees at the Trinidad and Tobago National Workshop on April 28th, 2016.|
For more information on the ABS Protocol, the Regional Project and for presentations from the National Workshop, click on the links below:
- Introduction to Access and Benefit Sharing and the Nagoya Protocol
- Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in Countries of the Caribbean Region - Project Overview
- An Explanatory Guide to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing
- Becoming a Party to the Nagoya Protocol: The Rationale and Key Steps Trinidad and Tobago National Workshop - Agenda
- T&T National Workshop - Introduction
- The Salinispora tropica Case - The Bahamas
Trinidad and Tobago to explore benefits of Advancing the Nagoya Protocol
The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development has announced the Government’s approval for Trinidad and Tobago to participate in a regional project called ‘Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in Countries of the Caribbean Region’. This project will focus on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization and its overall aim is to determine whether Trinidad and Tobago should become party to the Nagoya Protocol.
The Ministry of Planning and Development, through its Environmental Policy and Planning Division is the national focal point for the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and we are seeking the best interest of the traditional knowledge and biodiversity resources of Trinidad and Tobago. The Nagoya Protocol refers to the way in which indigenous genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge may be accessed, and how the benefits resulting from their use may be shared between the entities or countries that use the resources (users) and those that provide them (providers).
As it stands, other countries and institutions can develop downstream products such as medicines, dyes, chocolate products etc. from the genetic stock of Trinidad and Tobago’s indigenous plants, for example our cocoa and peppers, and animals and we earn no benefits or income from the sales. In extreme cases, derivative or processed products were sold to countries which were the source of the original genetic stock at full market value without any concessions or recognition of that country’s input to the development of the new commodity. The Nagoya Protocol intends to allow Trinidad and Tobago to claim profits of our natural resources that are used to create downstream products.
Trinidad and Tobago has considerable potential with respect to the utilisation of genetic resources, particularly as a source of genetic materials which would contribute to the stock of biological resources required for research and development by external parties. The Agricultural sector is likely to be the primary sector for biotechnology research as there are ready markets and a high demand for the commercialisation of bioengineered agricultural products. Other sectors which may provide opportunities may include (but are not necessarily limited to) horticulture and the manufacture of non-timber forest products such as fabrics, dyes and pharmaceuticals. The manufacture of organically based pesticides and biofuels remain an emerging sector for the application of biotechnology with the potential to access lucrative markets for organic agricultural produce and renewable energy respectively.
The Protocol aims to ensure that indigenous and local communities obtain a fair share of benefits from the use of their traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources and for their actual genetic resources, in cases where they have established rights to grant access to them, in accordance with national legislation.