National start-up workshop in Bhutan

20 participants from several government departments, the National Bioversity Centre (the agency leading the project in Bhutan), and one private seed company took part in the national start-up workshop of the GRPI 2 project on June 7-8 in Thimpu. The aim of the workshop was to introduce and discuss the five major project themes. The first session of the workshop dealt with the implementation procedures of the ITPGRFA/MLS (theme 1) and was prepared and presented by Singay Dorji. He situated the (implementation of the) ITPGRFA/MLS and the CBD in relation to the recently completed draft Access and Benefit Sharing policy of Bhutan. The draft policy was finalized after a series of regional consultations across the country, and will be submitted for government approval in the coming months.

Sessions 2-5 reviewed the themes on policy actors and coalitions; germplasm flows and interdependency; linking farmers to the ITPGRFA/MLS (focus: community seed banks); and technology transfer. Presentations made about these themes by Ronnie Vernooy were followed by Questions & Answers. The Linking farmers to the ITPGRFA/MLS session generated the liveliest and lengthy discussion, motivated by the government’s proposed plan to support the establishment of community seed banks across the country.

Participants expressed appreciation for the organization and facilitation of the workshop, for having been able to broaden their awareness and understanding of the ITPGRFA/MLS, for the coherence and relevance of the five themes, and for the open and participatory nature of the workshop itself. It was agreed that the National Biodiversity Centre would lead the follow-up process in terms of a) the formation of research teams and nomination of leaders for the 5 themes; b) the identification of training needs (for the survey, questionnaire, climate analogue tool); and c) development of a calendar of activities.

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Photo: Lhab Tshering


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