The workshop is aimed at having a more coordinated and coherent efforts among technical assistance providers and beneficiary countries in the region (Laos, Myanmar, Viet Nam) toward developing or improving BioTrade and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) policy, regulatory and administrative frameworks in light of the Nagoya Protocol. The workshop will also serve as a platform to produce a Mekong Action Plan on key joint activities and cooperation initiatives with partners and participants.
BioTrade refers to the collection, production, transformation and commercialization of goods and services derived from native biodiversity (genetic resources, species and ecosystems) under environmental, social and economic sustainability criteria. With a growing annual demand of 10-15% worldwide, natural ingredients represent a huge business potential - particularly on international high-end markets in which customers are willing to pay a premium for sustainably produced and fair traded goods.
In Southeast Asia, BioTrade has already established fertile ground for further development opportunities. For example, in Viet Nam, sales of BioTrade products have reached approximately USD 100 million and various value chains are currently being developed in Laos, and Myanmar. Research and development over "native" species may provide significant promises for the identification and further development of new naturally based compounds and products. For this, value chains need to comply with international, regional and national frameworks on ABS. Such Frameworks include the CBD, the Nagoya Protocol, the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Access to Biological and Genetic Resources as well as national ABS regulations.
While many countries in South East Asia have ratified the Nagoya Protocol, which sets a minimum reference ABS standard, there are few cases of ABS laws and regulation in place. Many countries in the region are therefore seeking to establish their own ABS systems in light of their own national biodiversity priorities, including the potential development of BioTrade value chains.
This workshop will be organized jointly by UNCTAD, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, and Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, and it is part of the SECO Funded Project "Linking Trade and Biodiversity" implemented by UNCTAD in cooperation with BioTrade partners.
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Trade and Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch