From April 11-12, the inception meeting of the African Bio-Cultural Community Protocol Initiative (BCP Initiative) is taking place in !Khwa-ttu, Western Cape. The meeting is hosted by Natural Justice in partnership with the Access and Benefit Sharing Capacity Development Initiative for Africa (ABS Initiative), the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD), and the COMPAS Network for Endogenous Development. The meeting is supported by the Shuttleworth Foundation, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, the Christensen Fund, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative for Africa, and the Heinrich Boell Foundation.
Over the coming years, the African BCP Initiative will support stakeholder partnerships in three selected pilot countries, while working systematically towards the legal recognition of BCPs within national policies. It brings together key CBOs, community representatives, and legal practitioners from the seven pilot countries (South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Benin) as well as a number of experts from other countries on the continent. During the first day of the inception meeting, participants shared their experiences in developing BCPs in their local contexts, while others who are considering developing BCPs shared some of the challenges they face that they aim to address through protocols.
On the second day of the meeting, participants will develop a roadmap of their requirements, plans, and goals for the next year of the African BCP Initiative and also highlight how they can work collectively to successfully achieve the objectives set out in the roadmap.