Written by Frank Khumalo
South Africa has become the 12th country and the first in 2013, to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity. South Africa deposited its instrument of ratification on 10 January 2013.
Thus South Africa joins Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, India, Jordan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mauritius, Mexico, Panama, Rwanda and the Seychelles as countries that have ratified the ground-breaking treaty.
The Nagoya Protocol will enter into force on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
Ninety-two Parties signed the Protocol at the closure of signature on 1 February 2012, highlighting the commitment of countries to the early entry into force and implementation of the Protocol.
"I am pleased to congratulate South Africa, the first mega-diverse country in Africa to ratify the Nagoya Protocol." Said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity. "We are firmly on track for entry into force in time for the Twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity."
"It is indeed a pleasure, for South Africa to be counted amongst the first 50 Countries that will contribute to the early entry into force of the Protocol. South Africa ranks amongst the top three world's most biologically diverse countries. South Africa will be greatly assisted by the provisions of the Protocol as they strongly encourage user countries to respect and also ensure compliance with the national legislation, policies and procedures of the provider countries" said Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa.
At the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Hyderabad, India, in October 2012, it was decided to reconvene the Open-ended Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP) for a third meeting to address outstanding issues in its work plan in preparation for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol.
The Conference of the Parties also highlighted the importance of capacity-building and development initiatives and awareness-raising activities to support the ratification, early entry into force and implementation of the Protocol, and a number of activities are planned for the next biennium.
In Hyderabad, Parties were also invited to initiate and expedite their internal processes for the ratification of the Protocol.
It was decided that the ICNP, at its third meeting, would exchange views on the state of implementation of the Protocol.