Between the 30th of January and 3rd of February the 6th Pan-AfricanABS Workshop brought together 110 participants in Limbe, Cameroon. Theworkshop is put together every year by the ABS Capacity Development Initiative and was hosted by the Cameroonian Ministry ofEnvironment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development(MINEP) and the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC). Itsparticipants included national ABS focal points, representatives ofindigenous and local communities, private sector experts and other ABSstakeholders as well as representatives of a number ofintergovernmental organisations including the CBD, UNEP-GEF and FAO.
The objective of the workshop was to provide participants with a forumwithin which to exchange and discuss national and regional experiencesin addressing ABS issues with a special focus on non-timber forestproduct based value chains; approaches to addressing the transboundarynature of biological and genetic resources; and the need to considerthe establishment of a Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism.The workshop also provided African stakeholders the opportunity tofamiliarise themselves with a recently finalised draft study on a “GapAnalysis and Review of the African Model Law”; the outcomes of anexpert workshop on ABS and intellectual property rights and theregional perspectives on ABS as relevant in other UN fora, namely WIPOand the FAO.
Finally, as every year, participants were invited to study with moredetail a local ABS case study. In this case participants were able togain insight into the case of the Prunus Africana at the foot of MountCameroon. Through a day long excursions participants familiarisedthemselves with the value chain of the bark of the tree used amongother to treat prostate ailments. The example brought great insight tothe actual challenges of implementing ABS in practice.