Natural Justice’s Cape Town office hosted preparatory meetings with stakeholders to the Rooibos access and benefit-sharing agreement discussions. The stakeholders present included representatives from the Rooibos farming communities of Wupperthal and Niewoudtsville, the National Khoi-San Council and the San Council of South Africa.
The purpose of the meetings was to (i) Conduct Access and Benefit Sharing training, (ii) Engage in legal consultation with the stakeholders respective lawyers on the negotiations and (iii) to prepare the stakeholders for the broader access and benefit-sharing meeting with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Rooibos Industry, scheduled for the afternoon of the 31st of August. The opportunity was also used to discuss with the communities the development of a Biocultural Community Protocol on Rooibos.
The meetings commenced the morning of the 30th of August and closed the afternoon of the 31st of August. During the final session the stakeholders took the time to reflect and wrap up the discussions from the previous day, and they watched a short video introducing the concept of biocultural community protocols along with WIPO’s (World Intellectual Property Organization) resources around traditional knowledge.
The communities then met with the Rooibos Industry during the afternoon. This meeting was hosted and facilitated by the Department of Environmental Affairs at their Cape Town offices.