IUCN and UN Environment launch promotional videos on the Nagoya Protocol for the Caribbean

What is the Nagoya Protocol and how is it important for the Caribbean environment? Videos are always a good way of explaining things, and the IUCN and UNEP have partnered on this project to raise awareness and to show how Caribbean people can benefit from the Protocol. I am sure you have heard of intellectual property rights? Well, it’s something like that… Please read their press release, below.

P.S. What are genetic resources? Here is a definition I got from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO):

Genetic resources for food and agriculture are the raw materials upon which the world relies to improve the productivity and quality of crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries, as well as to maintain healthy populations of wild species. The conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture is therefore at the core of food security and nutrition. Conserving and using a wide range of diversity – both among species and within species – means securing options to respond to future challenges.

 Caribbean, 4 July, 2017 (IUCN) – The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment  Programme (UN Environment) are increasing their efforts to help Caribbean countries boost fair access to their genetic resources and equitable sharing of benefit derived, through the release of two short videos on the Nagoya Protocol.

The two videos – a short two and a half minutes and longer 10 minutes production – introduce viewers to the Nagoya Protocol and what it will mean for them individually and the Caribbean as a whole.  They are a part of a regional/national awareness campaign on the Nagoya Protocol – which is still new to the Caribbean.

“We made the videos because we wanted people to easily understand what the Nagoya Protocol is and what it means for the Caribbean Region,” said María Pía Hernández, Coordinator of the IUCN’s Biodiversity and Rights Unit, as she explained that prior to the Nagoya Protocol there were no guidelines in place to ensure that countries and individuals were properly compensated for the use of their traditional knowledge and genetic resources.


“It is also very important that countries sign on to the Protocol so that they can protect their natural resources, as well as get compensation and other benefits depending on how the resources are used,” said Dr Grethel Aguilar, Regional Director of the IUCN’s Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The IUCN is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental union composed of both government and civil society organisations, working for a just world that values and conserves nature.

The Nagoya Protocol is an international agreement that focuses on the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the sustainable use of genetic resources.  It is an agreement that has particular relevance for researchers and prospective business developers that use the Caribbean’s natural resources. The Protocol was adopted on October 29, 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, and entered into force on 12 October 2014. It has been ratified by 78 parties, which includes 77 UN member states and the European Union. It is the second Protocol to the CBD; the first is the 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

The IUCN Regional Office is partnering with the UN Environment Programme in a project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to work with regional governments, research institutions and other partners in the Caribbean to support countries to overcome barriers linked to poor understanding of ABS, the Nagoya Protocol and the implications of protocol ratification and requirements for implementation.

What are genetic resources? In Jamaica, they include our wide range of medicinal herbs. Here is Cacheta Francis with her King of the Forest shrub. (Photo: Nadege Green)

The project works with other partners as Caribbean governments, regional institutions (CARICOM, OECS), Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and GIZ-ABS initiative in eight Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago). The Caribbean is a rich biodiversity hotspot. It has over 11,000 plant species and about 72 percent of these are found only in this region. However, Caribbean islands need to reinforce their legislation and policies to protect their genetic resources in case a country’s resources are accessed and developed commercially to ensure the country benefits from it.

The two promotional videos will be disseminated to regional media houses and other key national stakeholders over the next few months. They will also be available on the IUCN’s website and social media sites.  The two minute video gives a basic introduction of the Nagoya Protocol while the 10 minute one gives more detail about how it works in practice.

The videos can be accessed at the following sites:

The Nagoya Protocol


The Nagoya Protocol: Opening doors for Caribbean People (I would recommend this one – starting with a Maroon healer in Jamaica)


For more information please contact:

Melesha Banhan, Coordinator Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in Countries of the Caribbean Region Project         Tel: 6479376273; e-mail: melesha.banhan@iucn.org

Nancy Arroyo, IUCN-ORMACC Media Relations. Tel: (506) 2283-8449; e-mail: nancy.arroyo@iucn.org

Medicinal plants make up a large part of Jamaica’s genetic resources. Here Deputy Chair of the Natural History Museum of Jamaica Dr. Rupika Delgoda-Clarke looks at a new exhibition at the Museum (Institute of Jamaica) which is free and open to the public. Do go see – it is quite fascinating. (My photo)

About IUCN

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,300 Member organisations and some 16,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards.

IUCN provides a neutral space in which diverse stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development.

Working with many partners and supporters, IUCN implements a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.


cid:image002.jpg@01CE7656.C73D6E40  UICN ORMACC@uicn_conserva

cid:image003.jpg@01CE7656.C73D6E40  UICN México, América Central y El Caribe   


About UN Environment

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

UN Environment work encompasses:

    Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends

    Developing international and national environmental instruments

    Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment


“To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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