OFAB Kenya continues to mentor early career professionals to participate in discussions and negotiations under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). During a virtual workshop held on 6th May 2022, youth from 10 African countries discussed multilateral benefit-sharing from digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources, and the outcomes of the twenty-fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-24).

Participation of early-career and young African professionals in the CBD COP-MOP negotiations (Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety [Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP], and the Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing [Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP] is crucial in preparing the next generation of negotiators at the CBD and other international discussions. Unfortunately, the voice of young African scientists who have undertaken bioscience courses and advocate for the adoption of biotechnologies in addressing societal challenges is seldom featured in CBD activities. In this light, OFAB Kenya has brought together a group of early-career professionals from 10 African countries, to advocate for evidence-based decisions at CBD discussions.

To bring the team up to speed with the CBD topics, processes, meetings, and action plans, OFAB Kenya brings together the youth, National Focal Points, and expert negotiators to deliberate on issues emerging under the CBD. Topics discussed so far include the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, synthetic biology, genome editing, gene drives, and digital sequence information on genetic resources. In this workshop (third meeting since team induction), recommendations were made for African states to negotiate policy options that promote equitable sharing of benefits from the utilization of DSI. Particularly, the youth called upon the fourth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, scheduled for 21st – 26th June 2022 in Nairobi, to include a benefit-sharing package in the framework.