DRAFT POLICY DOCUMENT ON ACCESS AND BENEFIT SHARING ARISING FROM THE USE OF GENETIC RESOURCES IN CAMEROON
BDCP Cameroon collaborated with the Government of Cameroon to come up with a draft policy document on ABS. This project was executed under the DGF 2009 rounds. The goal of this project is To Promote Effective Stakeholder Participation in ABS Policy Making Process in Cameroon by consultation and contributing to a draft ABS policy document. It is one of those rare instances where stakeholder consultation is key in policy making in the biodiversity sector in Cameroon. The project commenced with the creation of a task force to supervise the public consultation in the elaboration of the national policy and legislation. The list of stakeholder institutions that formed the membership of the enlarged Task force and their terms of reference was created and presented by the Ministry of Environment and Nature to BDCPC. Meetings of this enlarge taskforce were followed by a smaller group of key experts and recruitment of national consultants for the drafting of the national policy. The terms of reference as well as contracts for the consultant were jointly drafted and co-signed by MINEP and BDCPC. The out come of this process is a 53 paged draft policy document which will now serve as a base for wider public consultation. It will be recalled that the Government of Cameroon ( Ministry Of Environment and Nature Protection) which had been the chair of the TAI Cameroon Advisory Panel during the national assessment had been involved in the conception of the project. This collaboration was also possible because one of the key objectives of the project was to encourage and support the Cameroon to meet her commitment in the PP10 by promoting elaborate stakeholder consultation in the ongoing Access and Benefit sharing (ABS) policy development process. For the first time Cameroon has a draft stand alone policy document on ABS. This document will therefore be useful for a wider public consultation in line with Cameroon’s commitments to PP10. The Project is helping the civil society and other stakeholders to contribute in drafting of an ABS policy document in Cameroon that will help valorize the genetic resources of Cameroon for sustained livelihoods of the local populations hence meeting the recommendation of the TAI assessment that states that civil society should work actively with Government for the betterment of the lives of Cameroonians. It has been realized there are many challenges that usually arise when legislating in the absence of a general policy orientation. BDCPC and other stakeholders had proposed to the Government to put in place a national policy on Access to Genetic Resources and the Sharing of Benefits arising from its use before considering any specific laws on this subject matter. Secondly we had proposed that there should be effective stakeholder consultation and participation in this ABS policy making and other policies in Cameroon. This is equally a direct outcome of the TAI assessment recommendation in that, it was recommended that Cameroon should join the Partnership for Principle 10. In joining the Partnership, putting place ABS policy framework for Cameroon was the first commitment under PP10.