Replicable models of ABS in 2019: Uttarakhand

21 Nov, 2019

Collaboration and Way Forward

Presented below are the activities and achievements of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Partnership Project in collaboration with the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) in 2019.

Targeting to create awareness and communication strategies for better understanding of access and benefit sharing among different groups, various activities were carried out in the state of Uttarakhand. These activities focused on the Biological Diversity Act 2002 (BDA), the ABS Guidelines, the Nagoya Protocol on ABS and development, documentation and dissemination of ABS good practices.

I. Media reporting and local awareness on the Biological Diversity Act in the state increased, especially after a workshop and a 30-day radio series production by the All India Radio (AIR). 11 local newspapers reported on the BDA after the training and UBB saw a rise in queries to related to BDA and ABS from various listeners after the radio series broadcast.

II. Technical Support Groups (TSG) in the states are formed to support the documentation of the People’s Biodiversity Register. In Uttarakhand, they have the opportunity to be involved in other activities like, BMC formation and supporting knowledge-sharing on their role vis-a-vis BDA and ABS. Further, these TSGs are being involved in Training of Trainers to capacitate the BMCs and other stakeholders. As part of the project, this will be a first, where the TSGs are also facilitating the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) processes.

III. Certification can add economic value to bio-resources (BRs) and improve community livelihoods. In this context, the Member Secretary of UBB was supported by the project to receive FairWild Certification Training at Hungary to help develop the capacity for certification in the state. Consequently, a workshop on certification was organised on germplasm registration, and various certifications (Organic, FairWild, etc). A wide range of stakeholders participated in the training including Government institutions like, National Medicinal Plant Board, AAYUSH, Quality Council of India (QCI), NBPGR, Indian Council for Agriculture Research; Private Certification agencies like, TRAFFIC, IndoCert, NCCF, etc. and most importantly, farmers, BMC members, NGO’s and UBB. The event helped in connecting the participating BMCs with agencies, like QCI, for obtaining certification.

IV. Although several biodiversity boards are able to collect the ABS money, it is imensely difficult to plough it back to the community since traceability of bio-resources is still an issue. One solution- for the SBB- can be to invite proposals from the BMCs, which enage in trade of the bio-resouces, and procure equipment, like oil extraction machine and solar dryers for them. The use of this machinery enhances the longevity of the collected raw material and supports the BMCs in getting a better value of the collected raw materials. A Farmer Facilitation Centre with equipment like, solar dryer for bio-resources and oil extraction machines at BMC level is also being supported by the project. These models operate in Pithoragarh and Almora.

V. In an effort to document Traditional Knowledge, the practices of Chunare community from Bageshwar been covered by the project. The community makes wooden utensils from Sandhan (Desmodium oojeinense) wood with the help of water mills.

Finally, as part of the exit strategy for strengthening and sustainability, collaborations are now being facilitated by the project between UBB and leading institutions. An MoU between UBB and Law College, Uttaranchal University has already been signed for the inclusion of BDA in the course curriculum and develop the capacities of law students. Another MoU has been signed between the UBB and GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development for trainings on BDA in the state.


The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Partnership Project under the Indo-German Biodiversity Programme is being implemented by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India (MoEF&CC) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Partnership Project is being implemented in three states namely Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu and is on verge of completion. Presented above are the activities and resultant achievements in Uttarakhand in 2019 paving a path for the partners towards sustainable conservation and use of biological diversity. Similar activities and cooperation can also be embraced, replicated and agreed upon in the other states.

By Pradeep Mehta, Aeshita Mukherjee, Anil Kumar Joshi


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