Nepal ranks 31st in global biodiversity richness. Unfortunately, Nepal stands to lose many of her indigenous species of flaura and fauna and natural endowments in the absence of a scientific identification and documentation system, and paucity of official efforts towards their preservation. Experts have of late urged the government, and rightly so, to introduce a special package to protect indigenous genetic resources from biopiracy that is on the rise. But most important is the need to educate the people, especially the indigenous communities, about the negative impact of irresponsible trading in genetic wealth on the peopleâ€™s lives and the environment.
With Nepalâ€™s WTO membership, there is the danger of her endemic products going up for grabs in the global market. Due to concerned ministriesâ€™ apathy and the lack of comprehension on the part of local communities, medicinal herbs and other genetic resources are being illegally exploited and that too for a song. Firstly, the agencies concerned should not delay in registering the indigenous properties for patent rights or else the exploitation will, sooner than later, destroy what truly does Nepal proud. Secondly, a mechanism to market patented products under a legal framework also has to be devised to make the trade more transparent and systematic. Unless this is done, the local communities cannot reap benefits. The multinationals involved in biodiversity disruption and subsequently damaging the environment should be brought under the purview of legal regime.