The workshop aims at bringing together project implementers, researchers, experts and practitioners on BioTrade to develop a deeper understanding of access and benefit sharing under the Nagoya Protocol issues and their implications for their R&D and commercial activities in Viet Nam, Myanmar and Lao PDR.
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, where 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 can 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 Access and Benefit Sharing (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 set 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.
The Regional BioTrade Project in Southeast Asia is a four-year project funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, and implemented by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation. The project’s mandate is to promote the development and export of natural ingredients produced and sold according to Ethical BioTrade principles. To support this project, Helvetas, UNCTAD and SECO will host training and a regional workshop on ABS under the Nagoya Protocol from 5-6 June in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.
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Trade and Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch