A three year project has been launched to strengthen Ethiopia’s capacity to implement the Nagoya Protocol, a landmark international treaty under the Convention on Biological Diversity and has been ratified by 100 countries so far.

The 28 million USD UNDP-GEF global Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) project will focus on helping 24 countries including Ethiopia to strengthen their legal frameworks, institutional capacities and understanding of all stakeholders, including local communities, about the issues surrounding genetic resources. Government from the 24 countries contributed around 15 million USD in monetary and in-kind towards the co-financing of the project.

The intervention is expected to help Ethiopia, particularly local communities, to have an attractive legal instrument to facilitate access and ensure an equitably sharing from the country’s rich biological biodiversity.

“At the core of our support is the acknowledgement that to ensure sustainability we need to place communities at the center of biodiversity conservation efforts” noted James Wakiaga, economic advisor for UNDP Ethiopia speaking at the inception meeting for the project. “This emphasis to leave no one behind in the development journey is central to Ethiopia’s commitment to meeting the sustainable development goals, the SDGs,” he underlined. Climate change, environment and biodiversity make up a major section of UNDP’s work in Ethiopia.  

Countries that are not regulating their genetic resources are missing out on major opportunities according to Fouad Bergigui, UNDP’s regional technical advisor who stressed that it was up to individual countries to develop the necessary legal instruments.

In 2009, Ethiopia enacted a law that regulates access to genetic resources. This law provides details about the procedures for access to natural resources and the community’s engagement in terms of providing their consent as well as benefiting from the use of these resources.

With the support of the UNDP-GEF project, Ethiopia will review its existing laws to identify gaps; harmonize its current framework with the Nagoya Protocol and draft code of conducts; identify and train relevant stakeholders; and help raise awareness of genetic resource access and benefit sharing across sectors as well as within local communities.

* The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. It entered into force on 12 October 2014, 90 days after the date of deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification. Learn more about the Nagoya Protocol.

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