10 October 2012, CBD COP 11, Hyderabad India - Three Pacific island countries, Fiji, FSM and Palau, have signed the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, with Fiji, the fourth country in the process of acceding to the Protocol.
The Federated States of Micronesia announced their agreement to ratify the protocol at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India.
“The Federated States of Micronesia is thrilled to join its fellow small islands developing state colleague Seychelles in ratifying the Nagoya Protocol. My delegation is pleased to report to this distinguished body that as of October 1st, 2012 our National Congress adopted a resolution to ratify the Nagoya Protocol and looks forward to depositing our instrument of ratification,” presented by Mae Bruton-Adams as the FSM Delegation.
Palau and Vanuatu join FSM in signing the Protocol, but are yet to ratify it. Fiji is not a signatory but will become a party through acceding to the Protocol.
The Protocol addresses one of the CBD’s three objectives – the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources. It is designed to give developing nations a fairer share on profits made by companies, such as pharmaceutical and cosmetics firms, from their genetic resources.
Prostratin is a compound found in the bark of the mamala tree of Samoa, Homalanthus nutans. Research has indicated that prostratin has potential to be useful in the treatment of HIV. The development of compounds called Calanolides, derived from the latex of a tree, Calophyllum species, found in the Malaysian rainforest, as a potential treatment for HIV and certain types of cancer.
Benefits derived from genetic resources may include the result of research and development carried out on those genetic materials, the transfer of technologies which make use of that research, or monetary benefits arising from the commercialisation of products based on those genetic resources.
The protocol recognises that indigenous knowledge should be protected and communities that possess it must be adequately compensated if that knowledge is used for commercial gain.
“Our work will mean that all four states plus the national government are united when it comes to the implementation on the Nagoya Protocol with respect to regulating research and the possibility of users accessing our genetic resources,” said Alissa Takesy of the Federated States of Micronesia.
“We need to fully comprehend their intentions and come to a common understanding on what our genetic resources are utilised for and if they are going to commercialise it, we’d like a process capturing the benefits being reciprocated back to the local communities”
The Nagoya Protocol was adopted on 29 October, 2010 in Japan after six years of negotiations. For more information on 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.