Scientists from the Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) staff presented at the National Consultation Workshop on the Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) project for which IAS was a partner in. The workshop, held on April 24 to 25, 2018 at the Pearl Resort, Pacific Harbour was attended by key stakeholders involved in the ABS project including the United Nations Development Programme, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Fiji Locally Marine Managed Areas and IAS.
The project “Discovering nature-based products and building capacities for the application of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) in Fiji” is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented at the national level. The National Consultation Workshop on the Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) project aims to address issues affecting national capacity to implement, institutionalise and operationalise ABS Agreements and the Nagoya Protocol which was signed by Fiji in 2014. The project workshop focused on:
- analysing feedback on the different policies and processes that are currently undertaken in Fiji in relation to ABS and identify gaps;
- reviewing and validating recommended permitting processes for genetic resources; and
- reviewing and validating recommended ABS policy framework for Fiji
Dr Katy Soapi, Manager for the Pacific Natural Products Research Centre (PNPRC) at IAS presented IAS’s research outcomes of the project which focused on the search for antibacterial, antifungal as well as anticancer activity from marine and terrestrial samples. She highlighted the importance and urgency of formalising the national ABS policy and guidelines on bio-prospecting research. This will also address the current gaps, barriers and streamline bio-prospecting and other related scientific research while ensuring that owners of resources obtain tangible benefits from the use of their resources in Fiji and the region.