Round table discussion on “Access and equitable distribution of benefits from the use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in the Kyrgyz Republic”

Rural Development Fund (RDF) focuses on drawing attention to the issues of equitable access and sharing of benefits from genetic resources and preserving the country’s biological and cultural resources on the basis of the Access and Equitable Distribution of Benefits mechanisms, also called the Access and Benefit of Sharing (ABS) system. On 20 October 2017, RDF hosted a round table discussion on the results of the study, “Access and equitable distribution of benefits from the use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in the Kyrgyz Republic”. Representatives of the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry and other departments, donor and partner organisations, scientific institutions, local communities, and other stakeholders were invited to participate at this round table discussion.

Prior to this discussion, RDF had conducted a study within the framework of the project, “Further Steps to Preserve Cultural and Biological Diversity through Traditional Knowledge in the Kyrgyz Republic” with the support of the Christensen Fund in USA, and had compiled an interim report which presents recommendations on developing mechanisms for the ABS system implementation. This report also contains an overview of legislations on access and distribution of benefits from the use of genetic resources, and identification of key institutions and stakeholders, as well as an analysis of the views of representatives of local communities on issues of access to genetic resources and the distribution of benefits from their use. In general, the study aimed at understanding the relevance of the ABS system both at the national and local levels, to present current activities to introduce the ABS system, and to present possible ways to promote the ABS system in local communities.

During the round table discussion, expert opinions were offered and exchanged by representatives of environmental institutions, the Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, local communities, local self-government bodies, the network of custodians of traditional knowledge, Kyrgyz El Akyl Kazyna, and partner organizations on the results of the study and the genetic resources of the country. We also discussed Ideas, opinions and possible solutions for voiced questions at the community level, and proposed plans for the future programmes.