OUR APPROACH: BUILDING BRIDGES
BDCP utilises its independent and non-governmental status to bring innovative management and technical support to grass-roots sustainable development projects. It serves as an intermediary institution forging equitable partnerships between tropical countries and often inaccessible developmental agencies.
BDCP adopts a bottom-up approach in its efforts to enable rural dwellers to derive maximum benefits from their environmental resources and labor. In the process the BDCP has developed respectful, productive avenues of communication among people of widely varying background who share an interest in sustainable development. BDCP works with women’s co-operative groups, traditional healers, community groups, scientists, other NGOs, private sector interest groups, policy makers, and international agencies.
The path that we have chosen aims to restore this balance through the recognition of the interdependent relationships within ecological systems, sustainable living, community involvement and collaboration as integral ingredients of natural resources management, and the larger role of biological resources in addressing the global common good.
OUR APPROACH: POLICY INVOLVEMENT
The involvement of BDCP with policy on Africa ranges from the national to the international. In the international arena, BDCP’s benefits sharing program has been used as a model demonstrating the successful implementation of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) , leading to work on the design of benefit sharing models for the Organization of African Unity (OAU). BDCP’s work in Nigeria has been instrumental in establishing the Ministry of Environment. Presently, the BDCP is the lead organization in the development of a national biodiversity action plan (NBSAP) for Nigeria. In addition, and in collaboration with local NGOs and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, BDCP is working on strategies for sustainable use and development of biological resources in Nigeria. This effort is expected to leverage considerably the long-term work on the assessment and monitoring of biodiversity in Nigeria.
OUR APPROACH: DEVELOPING TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC CAPABILITY
Through its offices and collaborating scientists, BDCP has on-going research and bioprospecting programmes in Nigeria and in parts of West-Central and South Africa. By this approach, it seeks to develop technical capacity and scientific capability in tropical countries, to enable them appreciate and understand tropical ecosystems as sources of materials to enhance sustainable national development and biodiversity conservation. In other words, the development of conservation programmes which link the development needs of people living in tropical countries with the protection of the environment.
OUR APPROACH: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
Our conservation projects builds on experience with (i) economic valuation studies of NTFPs under the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group (ICBG) program on Drug Discovery, Biodiversity Conservation, and Economic Development in West/Central Africa; and (ii) the Evaluation of Phytomedicine Development as an Economic Incentive for Biodiversity Conservation in Cameroon and Gabon, in collaboration with the Central African Regional Program on the Environment (CARPE) of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF); (iii) economic valuation studies on UNIDO GCLME project and most importantly, (iv) BDCP’s environmental sensitivity projects which is a major aspect of most of the projects being carried out by BDCP e.g. Nypa Palm Assessment and Nigeria’s Mangrove Forest Reforestation in all coastal states.
OUR APPROACH: BRIDGING KNOWLEDGE AND ENHANCING CAPACITY
BDCP has developed respectful, productive avenues of communication between people of varying backgrounds who share an interest in sustainable development. We work equally with traditional healers, community groups, western-trained scientists, other NGOs, private sector interest groups, policy makers, and international funding agencies. Crucial to developing these associations are the many training courses, workshops and congresses that we sponsor as well as our international database on African plants. Through equitable partnership arrangements with western-based institutions, we are enhancing the technical and scientific capabilities of in-country communities, universities and industries through infrastructure building that particularly impact community health issues. The tools employed by BDCP are Information Networks, Conferences/workshops, Database and Training Courses.
Also worthy to note is that BDCP was instrumental to the development of the National Capacity Needs Self-Assessment (NCSA) for Environmental Management.
OUR APPROACH: BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
Our biodiversity conservation programme seeks to create economic incentives for conservation by adding value to natural resources. Through a variety of long-term conservation projects, from small-scale community tree planting to internationally-sponsored biodiversity monitoring plots, our goal is not only the understanding of African forest biology and ecology, but to provide data on the relative abundance of economically valued species. This information helps us to decide which species to put into production and which to protect or cultivate, as well as the right policy mix and regulatory mechanisms to facilitate the emergence of a local productive sector. It is our hope that these measures will create a counter-measure to reduce the anthropogenic pressure on forests.
Accordingly, the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group (ICBG) was initiated as a unique effort to address the interdependent issues embodied in the convention through a program of drug discovery, incentives for biodiversity conservation and benefits sharing within the framework of CBD.
OUR APPROACH: TRADITIONAL MEDICINE KNOWLEDGE (TMK) / INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS (IPR) AND ACCESS AND BENEFIT SHARING (ABS)
Recognising the need for adequate research, documentation and compensation with regards to TMK, BDCP has established an independent fund known as Fund for Integrated Rural Development &Traditional Medicine, with its own management board entirely outside that of BDCP. The fund’s goal as outlined in the constitution, is to facilitate and ensure the equitable distribution of the benefits derived from sustainable utilization of Nigerian biological resources and to that effect:
• Serve as a channel through which economic benefits from bioprospecting are distributed to the source regions of plants for drug and nutraceuticals, in accordance with stipulated modalities.
• Apply revenues available to it to projects that will promote conservation of biological diversity in tandem with the economic well being of rural communities.
• Facilitate alleviation of poverty and enhance income generating activity, through community development initiatives, education and public awareness, and to mobilize volunteer efforts towards self-reliance and sustainable utilization of biological recourses.
• Collaborate based on the particular circumstances of each rural community, with town associations, village heads and professional guild of healers in determining the nature of compensation to apply.
• Compensate as appropriate the scientists and other individuals who contributed to the identification and processing of medical or source plants.
BDCP has also developed a model of ABS which is currently being used as a model for Nigeria’s IPR/TMK regulations being read in the National Assembly for passage into law.