The project aims to strengthen the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources in Bhutan through the development of a national framework for the implementation of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) under the Nagoya Protocol, including raising national capacity to the stage of implementation-readiness and facilitating the discovery of nature-based products.
The Royal Government of Bhutan has identified the development of a national framework consistent with the Nagoya Protocol’s provisions as a priority and is investing in efforts to develop its national biotechnology industry beyond existing traditional medicine production for domestic use, as well as the documentation and protection of traditional knowledge. There are limited ongoing investments in bio-prospecting from the National Biodiversity Centre, the Ministry of Health’s traditional medicine program, and local and international companies. However, the great potential for the productive use of Bhutan’s exceptional genetic resources associated with its mountain landscapes and diversity of forest types, remains largely undeveloped and potential income to both the government and poor rural communities are unrealized.
The results and lessons learned from the project will be shared, contributing to global best practices on ABS. These in turn can also provide useful guidance to the ongoing regional and global processes related to ABS. Overall, the project will ensure that the national economy, business community and local communities all stand to gain from the further development of Bhutan’s biotechnology industry, including its participation in international partnerships and foreign investment.