GEF Approves First Access and Benefit Sharing Project Under Nagoya Protocol Fund

GEF12 January 2012: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved the first project under the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF). The project seeks to discover nature-based products of interest to the pharmaceutical and agro-chemical industries in Panama, including compounds to cure cancer and other tropical diseases.

The US$4.4 million project, which includes US$1 million from the NPIF, will support research and transfer of technology with assistance of private sector partners, including the Eisai Inc, Dow AgroScience, and Centauri Technology Corporation, in a joint venture involving the Government of Panama and academic and research institutions.

The project's objectives include: having an operational framework on access and benefit sharing (ABS) in Panama; discovering active compounds for pharmaceutical and agro-chemical uses from organisms in protected areas; transferring state-of-the-art technology (hardware, software, and knowledge) for bioprospecting to Panama; improving research infrastructure and capacities in Panama, as well as awareness of ABS, and the need for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and its genetic resources; and enhancing the capacities of local institutions to negotiate ABS agreements.

The NPIF is a multi-donor trust fund administered by the GEF. It was created to fund activities under the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) (the Nagoya Protocol). To date, it has been funded by the Governments of Japan, Switzerland and Norway. [GEF Press Release] [IISD RS Sources]