Women of the African Women‘s Network on Sustainable Development (REFADD) build ABS capacities


Brazzaville (Republic of Congo), 21 to 22 February 2013– A capacity building workshop was held for members of the African Women‘s Network on Sustainable Development (REFADD) on the theme: “Women and the ABS process in Central Africa: how can they impact implementation at national level?”. The workshop, chaired by Madame Eulalie BASHIGE, Regional President of REFADD and moderated by the trainer Mr. Chouaibou NCHOUTPOUEN, COMIFAC‘s  expert on Biodiversity and Desertification, equally gathered members of the regional Bureau, representatives of eight countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Chad, as well as resource persons.


The workshop was supported by financial and technical assistance from IUCN and GIZ and aimed to raise awareness and boost the capacities of REFADD members on ABS and thus enable them to get involved in ABS-related processes at national level. 


In fact, 193 countries including those of COMIFAC have ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an international legally binding instrument adopted in June 1992 to stem the degradation of biodiversity. Parties to this convention committed themselves to pursue three objectives: the conservation of biological diversity; the sustainable use of its components; the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding.


This third objective on access and benefit sharing (ABS) bears particular relevance to developing countries, as the custodians of the largest reserves of biological diversity in the world and as they seek the establishment of a system of compensation for access to their genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.   


High on the list of players likely to impact the implementation of the ABS process in COMIFAC countries are the specialized CEFDHAC networks which include REFADD whose ABS-related capacities must be strengthened to enable it to conduct advocacy for the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol and effective implementation of ABS in COMIFAC countries.


The training ended with the highlighting of women’s roles in the area of ABS, strategies to be established to enable them to play their full role as well as identifying capacity building needs in light of challenges and stakes relating to ABS implementation in COMIFAC countries. The groundwork was laid for the development of a communication, education and awareness strategy, action plans were formulated by each focal point and the regional bureau.  

Participants made several recommendations among others to:

a)     COMIFAC

To raise awareness of CBD/ABS Focal Points through GTBAC on the need to involve women in ABS implementation at national level;

b)     The  REFADD Regional Bureau

To monitor the implementation of activities that the Focal Points pledged to undertake this year in order to contribute to the implementation of the ABS process in their respective countries;

c)     REFADD Focal Points

To initiate a meeting with the CBD or ABS Focal Point as the case may be, in order to define areas of collaboration on ABS implementation.

d)     Development partners (IUCN, GIZ)

To explore the possibility of financing a capacity-building workshop for members of REFADD on resource mobilization techniques for sustainable conservation, management and use of biodiversity.


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♦ The FInal Report of the Workshop 



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