ABS Biodiscovery in Kenya

The UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project is supporting a prospective biodiscovery partnership between private sector (as a user of genetic resources), an indigenous community (as a provider of genetic resources) and a local research institution in Kenya in order in develop a cosmetic and scaling up to cultivate local Mondia whitei plant, reducing impact of wild harvest. The user is V. Mane Fils Company, a firm based in France that specializes in cosmetics and flavourings using biotechnology and botanicals. The providers are the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kakamega and Vihiga counties and the Luhya indigenous communities of western Kenya, which are represented by KANFCCO in this partnership. The local research institution is Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). The company seeks to extract ingredients from the Mondia whitei plant, locally known as Mkombera, for flavouring and cosmetic industrial applications. The partnership provides a model to demonstrate access to and utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge through Prior Informed Consent  (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) based on the Nagoya Protocol.

To meet the demand of over 10 tonnes of Mondia whitei per year, the local community has embraced the project and are in the process of establishing large-scale nurseries to meet the envisaged industrial demand. This alone will significantly reduce reliance on wild harvest of Mondia whitei and generally contribute to sustainable utilization, species conservation and ecosystem protection.

Indigenous communities´ benefits are still under negotiation and include the establishment of a processing unit on the provider side, training support, various technology transfer, CSR support on afforestation by the company and monetary benefits including compliance with ethical sourcing for sustainability and where possible royalties.

It targets SDG Target 17.14 since it enhances policy coherence for sustainable development, contributing significantly to the ongoing initiative at the county level in developing an appropriate and effective ABS Nagoya Protocol Framework in Kenya. Additionally, the partnership addresses SDG 17.6, 17.7, 17.8 and 17.16. The company is implementing this project in Cameroon and Kenya where scenarios will be compared with aim of enhancing partnerships and developing appropriate frameworks.

Learn more about this biodiscovery case here.