WIN at the ABS Community Exchange



Community-to-Community Exchange and Capacity Development Workshop for Traditional Knowledge Holders

September 28th to October 4th, 2015
Bangalore, India


This workshop, supported by United Nations University, the GIZ ABS Initiative and the Equator Initiative, in partnership with Transdisciplinary University, Bioversity International, and the Biodiversity and Community Health Initiative, gathered together a diverse group of community representatives, researchers, and policy makers from India, Central Asia, and Africa to discuss issues around Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and the conservation, protection, and valorization of biodiversity, and traditional knowledge. The event took place in Bangalore, India from September 27 to October 4, 2015.


The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization emphasizes the need to take into consideration community voices on access, utilization, and benefit sharing with regard to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources. While conceptually this appears clear, in practice operationalizing this concept implies challenges at multiple levels. To tap into the economic and development opportunities of ABS and improve the implementation and operationalization of the Nagoya Protocol, there is a need to address challenges at the local level.

The workshop’s goals were to:

  • Increase the understanding of the relevance of the Convention on Biological Diversity principles on ABS and the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol at the local level;
  • Discuss ABS-relevant challenges faced by communities and enable the sharing of experiences and ideas on the sustainable utilization of genetic resources and its potential for local economic development;
  • Introduce and discuss leading examples of ABS and models for the conservation, protection and valorization of traditional knowledge by visiting major hubs and centers of traditional knowledge, biodiversity and ABS activities in three states of South India;
  • Provide an opportunity for developing partnerships among different participants from selected African countries and India.


As a funding partner of this workshop, the Equator Initiative contributed both its network of best practice initiatives in traditional knowledge and ecosystem conservation, and its experience facilitating community-to-community exchange. A critical part of this was the inclusion of several Equator Prize winners as community representatives to the workshop and facilitation by WIN coordinator Alejandra Pero.


Seven Equator Prize winners participated in the workshop, in addition to the Equator Initiative focal point of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Mr. Joseph Mutangah. They were:


  • Mr. Utkarsh Guate, Aharam Producer Co., India
  • Mr. Nirmal Kumar Awasthi, Chhattisgarh Traditional Healers Association, India
  • Mr. Koku Paul Koto, Village Development Committee of Ando Kpomey, Togo
  • Ms. Muhabbat Mamadalieva, Women and Earth, Tajikistan
  • Mr. Bibhu Kalyan Mohanty, Sambandh, India
  • Ms. Nomsa Mabila, Shewula Trust, Swaziland
  • Mr. Anoop P.K., Kerala Kani Community Welfare Trust, India


During the Community-to-Community Exchange and Capacity Development Workshop for Traditional Knowledge Holders, the participants strove to take into account the diversity of local innovations in the field of ABS, including the conservation, protection, and valorization of biodiversity and traditional knowledge in India.

To this end, a series of field trips and site visits were arranged. Please follow the links below for summaries of the site visits and workshops arranged during this series:

Video: Voices from our Equator Prize winners

Representatives from Equator Prize winning communities who participated in the Community-to-Community Exchange and Capacity Development Workshop for Traditional Knowledge Holders share their thoughts on their work, access and benefit sharing (ABS), and the value of knowledge exchanges. The speakers in order of appearance are:

  1. Mr. Anoop P.K. Kerala Kani Community Welfare Trust , India, Equator Prize 2002 winner
  2. Mr. Koku Paul Koto from Village Development Committee of Ando Kpomey, Togo, Equator Prize 2012 winner
  3. Ms. Nomsa Mabila, Shewula Trust, Swaziland, Equator Prize 2014 for Sustainable Land Management in Sub-Saharan Africa


• An agreement among Francophone Sub-Saharan and North Africans to develop a network addressing issues related to ABS (including environmental management, community rights, etc.). WIN will be hosting this network first as a virtual platform with the hope of obtaining funding to support learning exchanges among the group, and additional activities.

• A statement and press release by Africa delegates committing to support the development of domestic policies that put into place ABS at national and local levels. The press release can be read in full in Annex 1 of the Biodiversity and Community Health report.

• The results of the workshop will be shared at a panel discussion during the CBD’s SBSTTA, Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice meetings in November 2015.

• The workshop participants agreed to the following four areas for moving forward:

• To develop and implement culturally appropriate cross sectoral methods for raising awareness of ABS;

• Decentralized networking that is region specific, language appropriate and focused on IP and local communities;

• Local to local, cross-regional and cross-continent/south-south exchange; and

• Policy engagement in relevant international, regional and national forums and the possible development of an international forum on ABS, perhaps like the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) at the CBD.

Click here to view media coverage – Download full event report here

Comments are closed