Katonitabua: Access benefit sharing project vital

THE Access Benefit Sharing (ABS) is a vital project for Fiji as it strives to look for possible outcomes and resolutions for the betterment of its people.

Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs Naipote Katonitabua highlighted this while launching the ABS database.

According to Mr Katonitabua, the project was able to develop methods and mechanisms that would help protect local communities.

“As we are all aware, the environment, especially climate change has been at the forefront of the international community for the past several years and it continues to because of the threat to environment and to our existence,” the PS said.

“The project can also influence the protection, of our traditional knowledge and its expression of culture, inclusive of music, medicine, dance, food and delicacies and so on.”

Mr Katonitabua also called on all natural resource owners to take interest in this process to better understand its importance, for themselves and also for future generations.

Also present at the launch was the PS for Local Government, Housing & Environment, Joshua Wycliffe, UNDP Executive, Dr.Wilifereti Nainoca, senior officers from Ministries, NGOs and iTaukei resource owners.

“It has been a great honour to be part of the Access Benefit Sharing project, this journey was shared with UNDP, the Ministry of Environment and Fisheries, the Institute of Applied Sciences and most importantly our local communities,” he said.

About the project:
The project, which began in 2014, focussed on addressing several gaps and barriers in the area of maximizing benefits from genetic resources.
With minimal focus on the value of genetic resources that are accommodated in Fiji’s biodiverse areas, and the means by which payment for ecosystem services could be used to stimulate conservation at the local level, while providing avenues for improved livelihoods. The project also looked at instituting relevant legislation, policy and institutional systems to assist with regulating the collection, storage, exchange, development and use of genetic resources to maximise opportunities for alternative livelihoods.



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