On 3 and 4 July 2013, the Department of Science and Technology, in collaboration with the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) unit of the Medical Research Council of South Africa held the third and final pilot workshop on the international legislative framework and the South African domestic laws relating to Access and Benefit-Sharing. The workshop was held in East London with twenty-eight participants and six resource persons. Laureen Manuel and Gino Cocchiaro of Natural Justice conducted the workshop, which included presentations, group discussions and role plays on biocultural community protocols (BCPs).
Members of seven different communities from villages in Uitenhage, Grahamstown and Willowbridge, as well as two representatives from the Mokgola community in Zeerust, participated in the workshop. Some of the participants are traditional healers and others are engaged in the farming of various types of tea leaves.
International and domestic law on Access and Benefit Sharing, specifically the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, and the Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit Sharing Regulations of South Africa were among the topics covered under the session on laws.
The workshop concluded with participants readily taking part in the group discussions and role plays on BCPs, where they were required to engage with challenging questions about their own communities’ visions for the future and their decision-making processes.