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The multi-donor ABS Capacity Development Initiative holds the unique position as a global information and knowledge broker on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS).

The ABS Initiative’s focus is on contributing to the establishment of functioning ABS agreements between providers and users of genetic resources. It also supports several countries in designing and implementing the required regulatory frameworks.

The Initiative addresses the rising number of requests to support national ABS implementation through three core processes:

  • developing and revising ABS legislative and regulatory frameworks,
  • negotiating fair and equitable ABS agreements, and
  • effectively integrating IPLCs in respective negotiation processes.

The ultimate goal is to help create enabling environments in which genetic resources and the associated traditional knowledge are utilized in a sustainable way, while ABS delivers economic and development opportunities to all relevant stakeholders.

By better actualizing the poverty alleviation potential of ABS at the nexus of natural resource management, trade and governance, the Initiative contributes to the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The guiding principles of the Initiative’s approach arise from the third objective of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Nagoya Protocol which is in force since October 2014.

Lessons from the Initiative’s activities will directly support the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) in the implementation and further development of the Strategic Framework for Capacity-building and Development to Support the Effective Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.

The Initiative draws on expertise and networks rooted in over a decade of experience with ABS. It has developed tools and approaches that are used by ABS stakeholders globally.

When the Initiative started in 2006 it exclusively conducted activities in Africa. In 2012, it extended to all members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. Since 2018, the ABS Initiative is also implementing a special project on ABS Compliant Biotrade in South(ern) Africa.

The Initiative is hosted by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), funded by several governments and international organizations, and managed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The Secretariat is based at GIZ headquarters in Eschborn, Germany.