28 Jun 2006

Vanuatu wary of research into bio-diversity

7:58 pm on 28 June 2006

The Director of Vanuatu's National Cultural Centre says the country stands to lose a lot if it doesn't regulate research into its bio-diversity.

Ralph Regenvanu has cautioned the government not to give open access to more than 100 foreign bio-diversity researchers for study on Santo Island's Mount Tabwemasana this year.

Mount Tabwemasana is Vanuatu's highest peak and is home to bird, insect and plant species not found anywhere else in the world.

Mr Regenvanu says the country needs to set up an advisory council to protect its rich biodiversity.

He says there are many examples of biological diversity being turned into products by large corporations without proper consent, and the resulting money's not going back to the people who identified it using their traditional knowledge.

"And Vanuatu does have a lot to gain, possibly, from this kind of thing; but a lot to lose also if we don't properly regulate So, it's my view that there should be a moratorium on any research until the appropriate system in country is developed where we can actually properly deal with this research."

Ralph Regenvanu