Stakeholders confirm support for 2023 ABS Project plans
March 17, 2023
Quezon City, Philippines — Stakeholders forming the national and regional inter-agency technical working group of the Implementing the National Framework on Access and Benefit Sharing of Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge in the Philippines Project (ABS Project) convened on 1-2 February 2023 to refine the project’s implementation strategies for 2023.
A total of 69 representatives from the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), and 11 organizations from key government agencies, academe, research institutions, and the private sector attended in the two-day event. Participants provided inputs to the project's 2023 work plan, discussed project implementation updates, and strategized on how to resolve challenges and concerns.
The project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines, aims to increase economic opportunities and promote biodiversity conservation for indigenous peoples and local communities in the Philippines through the fair and equitable sharing of biodiversity benefits. In the next 5 years, the project, through its selected partners, aims to develop at least two bioproducts from the local genetic resources of banaba in Region III and pili in Region V.
Atty. Theresa Tenazas, OIC Division Chief of DENR-BMB Wildlife Resources Division, welcomed the stakeholders’ commitment to the project’s implementation. She continued by stating that the ABS Project is aligned with the Philippines’ commitment to Goal C of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). Goal C aims to fairly and equitably share the monetary and non-monetary benefits derived from genetic resources with indigenous peoples and local communities.
Ms. Theresa Espino-Yap, Program Analyst of UNDP, acknowledged the support of stakeholders and the remarkable accomplishments of the project, even in its pre-implementation phase. As the ABS Project begins implementation this year, UNDP anticipates that the collaboration of the four national authorities and the national and site-level teams will be crucial to accomplishing the project's midterm goals.
Ms. Minerva Martinez, Division Chief of the Conservation Development Division of DENR Region III, reminded the stakeholders that implementing the ABS Project is not only for the benefit of the Central Luzon and Bicol regions but also for the entire country. She guaranteed that the ABS Project will have the full support of DENR Region III and the site-level technical working group.
Atty. Ronnel Sopsop, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Service of DENR Region V, highlighted the strengthened regulations and policies to safeguard the country’s biodiversity from exploitation and the creation of socio-economic opportunities for indigenous peoples and local communities through the implementation of the ABS Project.
The ABS Project is the Philippines' endeavor to strengthen its commitment to the Nagoya Protocol, an international agreement aimed at providing a clear legal framework to implement the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. It intends to identify project locations at the provincial level in Region V, while potential sites in Region III are still in discussion with the indigenous peoples/indigenous cultural communities (IP/ICCs). A project Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the NCIP and DENR-BMB will be presented to the NCIP Commission En Banc for approval, paving the way for a stronger collaboration in project implementation. ###
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