Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing: Local Issues and Concerns
SAWTEE organized a one-and-a-half day discussion programme on "Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing: Local Issues and Concerns" in Lalitpur on 10-11 September 2014. The objective of the programme was to discuss and identify local access and benefit sharing practices with regard to crop genetic resources and natural resources. About 13 participants including representatives from community seed banks, community forestry user groups, and District Agriculture Development Offices of Bara, Lalitpur, Makawanpur and Sindhupalchok attended the programme.
During the one-and-a-half day programme, participants shared cases studies on how access and benefit sharing is currently being practiced at the local level. They mentioned that at present, forest resources are accessed as per the provisions of the Forest Act 1992, Forest Regulation 1994 and Community Forest Development Guidance 1995. However, according to the community forest user groups, cases of access to forest genetic resources are yet to be reported. In the case of crop genetic resources, as per the participants, the seeds are preserved, exchanged and traded at the local level for livelihood purpose. Promoted by both non-government and government organizations, seed banks in few districts within the country are also facilitating traditional seed exchange practices. Additionally, the participants stated that these seed banks have transferred seeds of various local crop varieties to the National Agricultural Genetic Resources Centre—a government entity under Nepal Agriculture Research Centre that has been working to preserve Nepal s genetic resources since 2010.