Parliament ratifies Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources

Emmanuel Agyarko – Chairman Select committee on Environment, Science and Technology

A protocol that will ensure that the country protects the intellectual property of its genetic resources and reduce the risk of bio-piracy has been adopted by Parliament.

Bio-piracy is the creation of biological products from native species without consent or compensation to the country of origon.

According to a report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology on the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their utilization to the convention on biological diversity, will grant the country access to resources and other forms of support from the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat.

The ratification of the Protocol will lead to the enactment of policies or laws that will regulate the use of biodiversity in Ghana.

With the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, Ghana can now go ahead to launch the Biodiversity Action Plan it has developed.

Among the benefits under the Nagoya Protocol includes: collection of fees for samples gathered, milestone payments, payment of royalties, and license fees in case of commercialization.

Others are research funding, joint ownership of relevant intellectual property rights, sharing of research and development results and strengthening of capacity.

The benefits will assist in the preservation and protection of Ghana’s biodiversity and establish a clearer and transparent legal regime for both the provider and users of the genetic resources.

The ratification will also ensure that intellectual property of plants and animals are greatly protected. All traditional knowledge of our biological will also be preserved through registration.

There will be education of communities to be aware of the genetic resources in their environment as well as the benefits to be derived from these resources.

Monitoring structures will further be created to ensure that contracting states abide by laws under the protocol and our biological are protected or preserved. Monitoring reports will be sent to the Conference of Parties intermittently for review to ensure that the right measures are put in place to protect our biological.

The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations should ensure that necessary inventory of the country’s biological resources is carried out to prevent them from being genetically modified by other countries.

The Protocol is expected to enter into force nineteen (19) days after deposit of the 50th instrument accepted, approved and ratified by a State or regional economic integration organisations that are parties to the Convention.

Currently, 196 member countries have acceded to the Convention on Biological Diversity and 105 others have ratified, accepted or approved the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the fair and equitable sharing from the utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The adoption of the Protocol by the Parliament of Ghana now takes the number to 106, in Africa, however, only 33 countries have signed onto the Protocol.