Volunteers contribute to biodiversity conservation and access to genetic resources
Since 2016, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) have been implementing the project ‘Strengthening human resources, legal frameworks, and institutional capacities to implement the Nagoya Protocol’, with the deployment of UN Volunteers.
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force in 2014.
The genetic resources are contained within all organisms (plants, animals or microorganisms), and may be used for different purposes, including basic research, and commercialization of products. Governments need to ensure that there is an appropriate system in place to guarantee that the genetic resources of the species within their jurisdictions are properly accessed, and the benefits shared with equity. --ABS Access and Benefit Sharing, Global Environment Facility
A three-year UNDP/GEF project (2016-2019) is specifically assisting 24 countries globally in the development and strengthening of their national ABS frameworks, human resources, and administrative capabilities to implement the Nagoya Protocol.
The project aims align directly with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in areas including reducing poverty, promoting decent work, economic growth and the protection of terrestrial ecosystems.
One of the objectives of the project is assuring the equitable access and distribution from the benefits derived from bio-discoveries and the bio-economy.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is a strategic ally supporting the implementation of the Global ABS PNUD-GEF project.
In five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, 10 national UN Volunteers support awareness-raising campaigns, socialization and the development of bio-cultural protocols with the mobilization of local and community volunteers.
An important activity supported by volunteers is the implementation of Knowledge, Aptitude and Practices surveys, which depends on the mobilization of hundreds of volunteers in local and indigenous communities.
In Ecuador, sixty technicians from the National Council of Nationalities and Towns of Ecuador were trained and empowered in mechanisms of traditional knowledge protection and volunteerism in the United Nations.
Guillermo Fadul, biologist and National Volunteer Coordinator in Panama, supports the implementation of the Global ABS UNDP-GEF Project. He shares his experiences and views about volunteerism.
I felt the interest to serve my country and communicate the benefits of this project for the conservation of biological diversity, motivated by the very meaning of the name of my country, Panama, abundance of fish and butterflies. I also shared my feeling as a volunteer, transmitting the purpose of this service to others, who can learn its value in personal, social and cultural life. --Guillermo Fadul, National Volunteer Coordinator in Panama
Like Guillermo, many other volunteers offer their time and capacities to the development of projects with which they can identify. For this reason, an additional tool that provides tremendous support to the Global ABS UNDP-GEF project is the UNV Online Volunteering service. During the project, ten UN Online Volunteers from four different regions worldwide were mobilized in activities including the translation, mapping and elaboration of leaflets that are used in awareness-raising campaigns globally on ABS-related topics.