Access and Benefit Sharing


Photo: Kimheang Tuon/UNDP Cambodia



Diverse climate conditions and thousands of years of agricultural practices have resulted in rich biodiversity and genetic crop resources in Cambodia. This high level of genetic diversity makes Cambodia an attractive country for bioprospecting, especially given the high number of known medicinal plants, many of which have associated traditional knowledge. Yet, as the country continues to manage its transition from a subsistence-based agrarian economy to a consumption-based cash economy, its biological resources are increasingly under threat. These threats include competing for land use from urbanization and infrastructure, poaching of wild plants and animals, overharvesting of forest products, and the effects of climate change. Furthermore, Cambodia is facing the loss of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

To counter these various threats to biodiversity, this project aims to strengthen national capacities for access to benefit sharing of Cambodia’s genetic resources. To achieve this objective, the project supports creating an enabling national policy, legal and institutional framework consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Nagoya Protocol.

A well-developed and functioning Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) national legal, institutional, and administrative framework will enable the equitable sharing of benefits from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge between the Royal Government of Cambodia, private sector and research sector and owners of these resources and traditional knowledge.

The above objective would be achieved through two components, namely:

Component 1: Creating an enabling national policy, legal and institutional framework for Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Nagoya Protocol.

Component 2: Developing capacity and administrative measures to implement the national Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) framework.

Key Expected Outputs

  • National ABS legislation finalized and submitted for approval.
  • National ABS roadmap was developed and finalized.
  • Model on bio-prospecting and monitoring framework for tracking genetic resources application developed.
  • Guideline for community protocols including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) analysis related to ABS Projects developed and finalized.
  • Effective financial mechanism for benefit-sharing from ABS agreements established.
  • ABS Administrative Permitting System and Check-points are established.
  • Training to National Competent Authorities, National Focal Points and related stakeholders on Nagoya Protocol and ABS legislations conducted.
  • ABS-Communication, Education and Public Awareness strategy and action plan, including campaign and audiovisual and materials developed and implemented.
  • ABS-Clearing House Mechanism developed, extended, and maintained, including capacity building provided.
  • Workshop on gender and communication strategy conducted.

Project Activities

  • Conduct a stocktaking exercise of existing legal documents.
  • Develop draft ABS Legislation and associated Rules and Regulations.
  • Draft preliminary ABS  framework.
  • Develop models on bio-prospecting and research procedures.
  • Develop appropriate information and communication mechanisms to support coordination and networking.
  • Develop a User Guide of rules and procedures for users and providers.
  • Develop regulatory measures and safeguards to strengthen the documentation and protection of traditional knowledge.
  • Develop guidelines for community protocols.
  • Undertake a legal analysis of options for the establishment of the financial mechanism for Cambodia.
  • Develop a comprehensive communication, education, and public awareness strategy.
  • Build the national capacity for the use of the expanded Clearing House Mechanism.

Progress/achievement to date

  • Stocktaking exercise to review and identify existing legal documents and best practices related to ABS completed;
  • Gap analysis of ABS legislation in Cambodia in compliance with the Nagoya Protocol including ABS skeleton and preliminary draft legislation completed;
  • National ABS legislation (Sub-Decree) developed and finalized for both Khmer and English versions;
  • ABS framework and gap analysis completed;
  • Stocktaking exercise to establish an institutional framework for ABS completed;
  • Communication​​ strategy and networking platforms developed, including Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey;
  • Assessment report on the current system for documentation of genetic resource and traditional knowledge, including the proposed regulatory measures and safeguards and clear rules and procedures developed.
  • Assessment report to inform the development of a guideline for community protocols completed;
  • Educational materials such as Leaflets on the overview of Nagoya Protocol and Khmer’s text of Nagoya Protocol on ABS were produced;
  • ABS-Clearing House Mechanism is being developed
  • Gender mainstreaming action plan developed and implemented.