|What is the issue?
||Due to its diversity, the HoB provides good bioprospecting opportunities. Genetic resources and
agro-biodiversity in large parts of the HoB have been used, cultivated, managed and modified
by local people for centuries. |
This rich tradition (codified in language, plant names, local
pharmacopeia and recipes, etc) has made it possible to identify and recognize potential uses of
plants and other organisms for food, medicinal and other purposes. The holders and custodians
of this traditional knowledge should be enabled to share in the financial gains made from these
Rather than seeing bioprospecting solely as an opportunity for financial gain,
the source country may want to negotiate a form of cooperation which builds institutional and
human resource capacity for research and development.
|Who is the seller?
||Currently governments of countries engage in bioprospecting agreements as ‘sellers’|
|Who is the buyer?||Pharmaceutical companies engage in bioprospecting agreements as ‘buyers’|
successful business model
Exploit investment opportunities
- Establish database of species found in the HoB and related traditional knowledge;
- Establish procedure to secure intellectual property (IP) rights;
- Establish a mechanism for benefit sharing with local communities;
- Raise community awareness concerning their IP rights;
- Provide a one-stop shop for prospective bioprospecting customers;
- Generate and sell credits representing the rights to the conservation or enhancement of
|What can the private sector do?
||Start joint ventures with local communities, to enable local retention of financial gains and
knowledge and capacity building.|
|What can the Government do?
- Develop action plan for implementing Nagoya protocol for equitable benefit sharing under CBD;
- Resolve issues regarding the rights of indigenous communities in the HoB, including
Intellectual Property rights;
- Devolve authority to enter into bioprospecting agreements to province/district governments, to
facilitate local benefit sharing;
- Countries whose national development plans envision a knowledge-based economy can use
related budgetary allocations to fund advanced technical training and knowledge transfer in
- Establish biodiversity center as knowledge hub, one-stopshop for bioprospecting “customers”,
provide related space, equipment and laboratory services for sample analysis.
- Securing natural capital: By attaching value to biodiversity in this way, natural capital will gain
appreciation in general. However, the challenge lies in ensuring the ability to share the benefits
of biodiversity with the local communities who are the custodians of the resources.
- Poverty reduction: Poverty reduction can be attained through bioprospecting provided benefits
are shared with the local communities.
- Economic growth: Both the pharmaceutical industry and the conservation-related industries are
boosted through bioprospecting; if benefits are shared equitably this will further boost the
- Climate change mitigation / adaptation: As bioprospecting requires biodiversity, it duly
requires healthy ecosystems, which in the HoB inevitably entails health forest ecosystems.
Thus, lucrative bioprospecting serves as an incentive to forest conservation and avoidance of
deforestation and forest degradation and related carbon emissions.