Pacific Regional Training Workshop on National Arrangements on Traditional Knowledge for Achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 18 and Contributing to Aichi Biodiversity Target 16 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 – 2020.

Mrs Czarina Stowers – (Principal Terrestrial Conservation Officer), had represented the Ministry to the Pacific Regional Training Workshop held in NZ. The purpose of Workshop is to train the trainers from Indigenous Peoples and Local Community (IPLCs) organizations and Parties to develop possible elements for national action plans for Traditional Knowledge (TK) that contain arrangement to fulfill obligations concerning a Traditional Knowledge in accordance with article 8 of the convention and Traditional knowledge associated with Genetic Resources (GRs) under the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization.

The objectives of the workshop are to:

1) Share experiences on national policy measures on traditional knowledge and related indigenous issues; share experiences where indigenous peoples and local communities have established rights to grant access to genetic resources.

3) Build capacity to develop potential draft elements for the development of effective national action plans to address traditional

4) To provide an opportunity for participants to discuss the post 2020 biodiversity framework

From sharing experiences, participants learnt about challenges faced and possible solutions that may assist neighboring countries with similar issues. There is lack of awareness in the Pacific including Samoa especially among stakeholders, including politicians and communities about sustainable patterns of land use that destroyed the biodiversity and this has led to the loss of associated traditional knowledge with specific regards to the potentials of GRs as a source of innovation in the local and national economies. The absence of such understanding contributes towards the loss and degradation of biological resources.  Access and Benefits Sharing (ABS) systems and permits should be clearly described and must be fully understood by all the parties involved including the IPLCs. Governments and IPLCs should learn from mistakes and injustices in the past. There is a real need for using an integrated approach that embraces genuine partnership and which champions a legal framework that assures fair and equitable benefit sharing of GRs and TK.

The fact that there are existing databases in this area in important which IPLCs and Pacific SIDS can utilize to identify any previous and registered patents and to register new patents. The concept definitely requires specialist training and knowledge hence, the need for capacity building for the Pacific SIDS and IPLCs in this area. It is also essential because TK on GRs that are derived from plant species that are common in most Pacific Countries needs to be properly addressed so that all right holders are acknowledged and equitably compensated.

Also, collecting information and data on TK and putting them into a database does not seem to present any problem. However, in the absence of a proper ABS/TK legal framework at this point in time, this may be an issue. Without proper control on how this information shall be managed, will make TK an easy prey for dubious and illegal deals, piracy and corruption.

From this workshop, it was learnt that Samoa needs an assessment of TK related to GR in Samoa. There is also a need of developing a TK Database to ensure that the TK will be properly registered and with proper legal mechanism, can generate some benefits for all involved including the IPLCs who are the right owners. It is a must to continue an ongoing awareness program at both Community and National Levels on ABS and its processes, using all means necessary.