Sunday, June 25, 2017

Seven communities gather to draft the Mariarano community protocol, Madagascar

Drafting group working on the Mariarano community protocol
During the first week of May, Natural Justice and GIZ facilitated a workshop with the local communities of Mariarano, in the Boeny region of Madagascar, to advance on their community protocol concerning the access and use of the Motrobe plant. Motrobe is the local name for Cinnamosma fragrans, a plant used in essential oils in Madagascar and abroad.
The community protocol brings together seven communities who harvest the plant and provide it to local and international biotrade operators. Through their protocol, the communities want to clarify their own decision-making regarding access to the plant, and to hold the operators accountable regarding permits and the fair sharing of benefits from the use of the plant. At the same time, this is the first community protocol process in Madagascar, and the lessons emerging from it are being used to inform the new national framework for Access to genetic resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS).
Role play on the process for obtaining harvesting permits,
during the legal training
The workshop was attended by the members of a local committee that the communities decided to create for the development of the community protocol. The meeting started with a legal training session about the new ABS law in Madagascar and about the general regulatory framework for the access and commercial use of plant resources. In the second half, the community representatives drafted the text of the elements of the community protocol. This draft text will now be edited by the GIZ / Natural Justice team. The result will be discussed and validated in each of the communities, before being officially presented at a stakeholder workshop with representatives of the private sector and government administration.
The Mariarano community protocol will contain the following elements:
  • Local decision-making structures inside and between the seven communities
  • Processes that commercial operators, researchers and others have to follow to access the community’s genetic resources and traditional knowledge
  • Traditional rules and values of the communities
  • Modalities for benefit sharing and conditions for the buying of plant material
  • Processes for conflict resolution
  • Commitments by the community to conserve their natural resources, specifically the Motrobe plant
  • The rights of the local communities to their natural resources under the law