Capacity Building

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Law and regulation create important rights and obligations, but in many markets the majority of stakeholders are not aware of the range of rules affecting them, limiting economic opportunity to a select few. In order to create a legal framework that is more effective and fit-for-purpose, NML works to build capacity among lawyers, policymakers, and government officials to better implement legal and regulatory solutions to development challenges. NML’s projects are designed to present the law in a way that is more accessible for a wider variety of stakeholders. This is especially important for sectors that are complex, heavily regulated, and often misunderstood.

NML works to develop sustainable capacity at the local, regional, and international levels, learning considerably from those with whom we work. NML’s approach is interdisciplinary, and we often engage with local researchers, economists, professionals, and others to better understand the specific needs of stakeholders in context.

To strengthen its comparative law focus, NML is increasingly incorporating empirical research, economic analysis, and political economy considerations into its programmatic work as well. Better evidence for legal and regulatory reform is needed, and governments around the world can benefit from understanding the options, costs, benefits, and tradeoffs involved in different legal and regulatory approaches.

In 2020, NML and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) began work on an initiative with support across the UN and other international and academic institutions to develop a “Handbook on Model Provisions for Trade Agreements in Times of Crisis and Pandemic,” which was formally launched in July 2021, that covers trade in essential goods, trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and standards, digital trade, development, and building forward better in areas such as investment, environmental sustainability, and gender. The Handbook was widely disseminated through a live course “Online Course on Negotiating Regional Trade Agreement for Trade in Time of Crisis and Pandemic,” which was attended by over 500 participants, including from a number of developing countries in Asia. A second iteration of the Handbook, with a specific focus on provisions related to inclusive and sustainable development in RTAs, including gender, MSMEs, environment, labour, and investment. This Handbook was disseminated though an “Online Course on Mainstreaming Sustainable and Inclusive Development.”

In 2023, NML and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) conducted a two-day licensing and plant variety protection training workshop for the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) management team in Dodoma, Tanzania. The workshop was attended by 34 participants, including the TARI Director General, the acting committee on intellectual property management, and representatives from the technology transfer and partnerships directorate and a number of other TARI directorates, including legal services; planning, monitoring and evaluation; social economic and marketing research; and agricultural natural resources management and engineering. Senior representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, including the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre, and the Plant Breeders’ Rights office also participated in the training. The training presented key concepts on licensing agreements, including their rationale and regulation, dimensions and elements, case studies, and comparative licensing approaches undertaken by other National Agricultural Research Institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as other relevant aspects of the legal and regulatory framework.

NML also held a workshop in Arusha for TARI, the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA), and TOSCI legal units and senior management teams. This workshop engaged a team of twelve senior officers, and centered around a discussion of key licensing concepts and facilitation of negotiation of a cooperation agreement among TARI, ASA, and TOSCI to facilitate effective licensing for TARI. The workshop was attended by the representatives from the TARI directorates of technology transfer and partnerships, research and innovation, and legal services, along with senior officials from TOSCI and the ASA legal unit.