Why Access and Benefit Sharing Policy and Legal Frameworks are Important for Africa

Most countries rely on Environmental Management Acts for dealing with Access of genetic resources and its conservation, however there were limited efforts towards setting up clear policies and legal frameworks for dealing with Access and Benefit Sharing. It is only Kenya and Uganda who have regulations under the Environmental Management and Coordination Acts, however, the actual implementation of the regulations, is far from perfect. Developing countries, especially in Africa are rich in biodiversity and yet out of the eight target countries for the IP programme, only Kenya and Uganda have established regimes though the regimes and their implementation are weak. This policy paper attempts to provide a background to ABS, limitation to develop policy and legal frameworks, opportunities available through International Treaties and Conventions, what ABS is, whether ABS regimes are important, why local mechanisms for governing ABS are weak, how the mechanisms can be improved, and the way forward.