In situ, Sustainable use, Poverty reduction, Livelihoods, Benefit sharing, Species conservation
This project will research medical use of biodiversity (based on indigenous healthcare practices), develop mechanisms protecting this knowledge, and consider how to use this to increase the health and prosperity of marginalized groups in Guatemala. Biodiversity loss in the Guatemala's Petén lowlands and central highlands is rapidly increasing due to urbanization, African palm plantations, and cattle farms. Many species are at risk due to habitat loss and degradation, having a negative impact on livelihoods of vulnerable and impoverished indigenous populations who rely on access to these genetic resources for health care. Guatemala ratified the Nagoya protocol, but lacks procedures for putting access-and-benefit sharing (ABS) into practice, and the Protocol is suspended in the country due to a breakdown in communication between stakeholders, particularly between indigenous communities and the government. This project has a direct intention to influence policy by co-developing, with government authorities and indigenous communities, a viable mechanism for implementation of the Nagoya protocol and CITES provisions for participation of local communities and inclusion of traditional ecological knowledge. This project will take a scientific approach centred around Maya medicine, with the final goal of developing a new formal framework for access-and-benefit sharing. It specifically addresses challenges and obstacles to secure the benefits of biodiversity for the most vulnerable, poor communities.