A US National Research Council (NRC) report released October 21 has unambiguously rebuffed the controversy-plagued Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), a project that proposed to collect DNA samples from over 700 groups of people - mostly indigenous communities - from around the world.
Recent Content Related to Farmers' Rights & Food Sovereignty
The life industry and US government are using bilateral bioprospecting agreements as their tool of choice to cheaply access genetic resources and undervalue farmers' resources and knowledge. These bilaterial agreements actually encourage inequities through patents, secrecy, and imbalanced negotiations that favour companies, not the true innovators and sustainable users of diversity, farmers and indigenous people.
Bolivia's National Association of Quinoa Producers (ANAPQUI) is asking two professors at Colorado State University to abandon their controversial patent on one of the country's most important food crops - quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) - a crop that feeds millions throughout the Andes, including many Aymara and Quechua Indigenous People.
Will governments opt for a multilateral system of crop germplasm exchange or will they determine to pursue bilateral agreements between countries and companies? RAFI examines Africa's bargaining position, and concludes that bilateral negotiations over crop germplasm will benefit the North, at the expense of food security in the South.
Two trends in industrial agriculture are contributing to the erosion of farmers' rights and lead to bioserfdom: 1) Monsanto's 1996 gene licensing agreement; 2) "Precision farming" and the role it plays in the commodification of information technology and the growing influence of the life industry in farm-level decision-making.
A Colombian genetics institute has offered to return its collection of thousands of samples of human tissue collected in dozens of Colombian indigenous peoples' communities. Indigenous peoples' representatives, including Colombian Senator Lorenzo Muelas and the OrganizaciÛn Nacional IndÌgena de Colombia (ONIC - National Indigenous Peoples' Organisation of Colombia), are currently negotiating the formal return of control and ownership of the samples, which are housed in a Bogot· human tissue bank.
An introduction to intellectual property monopolies. The 70 page booklet produced by IDRC in 1996 is designed as an information and advocacy tool for civil society and policymakers in response to two new, legally binding international agreements: the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Trade Organization's Trade Related Intellectual Property Agreement (WTO/TRIPs).
Protocol on Gene Access Could MUSEum Farmers' Rights & Sanction North's MonoUSE
The Parts of Life Agricultural Biodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge, and the Role of the Third System By Pat Roy Mooney
Development Dialogue is published by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.
After months of indecision and confusing signals, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has finally put an end to its internationally-denounced patent on the human cell line of a Hagahai indigenous person from Papua New Guinea. I hope this is the end of what is arguably the most offensive patent ever issued." says Alejandro Argumedo of the Canada-based Indigenous Peoples' Biodiversity Network (IPBN).
Draft World Food Summit Declaration and Plan of Action Entrenches Food Insecurity – but the Debate is Far from Over
Human Tissue Collection Initiatives by the U.S. Military; Colombian Indigenous Peoples' Cells in the U.S.; Accompanying maps showing cell collections inColombia and Papua New Guinea
RAFI's survey of agricultural biodiversity reveals that 75% of ex situ genetic resources and technology are held in the North, while 83% of in-situ genetic resources and technology are held in the South. Multilateral regimes for agricultural biodiversity management must insure that proceeds from biodiversity benefits go to the South's farmers.
ISSUE: Biodiversity prospecting is the exploration, extraction and screening of biological diversity and indigenous knowledge for commercially valuable genetic and biochemical resources. Bilateral bioprospecting agreements are sanctioned by the multilateral Convention on Biological Diversity. In the vast majority of cases, however, commercial bioprospecting agreements cannot be effectively monitored or enforced by source communities, countries, or by the Convention, and amount to little more than "legalized" bio-piracy.
This issue looks at biopiracy case studies around the world including super-sweet brazzein from Gabon; the Foundation for Ethnobiology in Thailand; Peruvian indigenous peoples' rejection of Washington University's ICBG project; and more. A detailed list of bioprospecting and biopiracy activities (as of early 1996) is also included.
One of the most eagerly awaited publications in the plant genetic resources (PGR) community. - Diversity 1994, 10(2), 25
The recent GATT agreement and the Biodiversity Convention have moved intellectual property rights to the centre of South-North relations.
Decisions about intellectual property, particularly for plant life, have major implications for food security, agriculture, rural development, and the environment for every country in the South and the North. For the South, in particular, the impact of intellectual property on farmers, rural societies, and biological diversity will be profoundly important.
* Patents granted for genetically engineered cotton could profoundly influence the future of a $20 billion crop critical to many national economies in the South.
* Farmers' organizations in Andean countries believe that patents granted for two varieties of coloured cotton do not recognize the major contribution to the new product by indigenous communities in South and Central America.
RAFI presents data from dozens of scientific and trade journals to illustrate the enormous contribution made by farmers and indigenous peoples in the South to the wellbeing of Northern citizens, and/or the economic benefit to industry in the North. A 14 page document.
Issue: In the 1980's US court decisions set international precedent for the patenting of human genetical material. As a result, exclusive monopolies over human genetic materials are becoming commonplace in the industrialized world, without discussion of the social, ethical and political implications. Perhaps most disturbing is the degree to which orinary citizens, both North and South, have been marginalized from discussion and debate on the patenting of human genetic material.
Patent-like claims on two coloured cotton varieties raise many questions and concerns about the ownership and control of coloured cotton, and the lack of compensation for indigenous knowledge and germplasm from the South.
Genpharm claims that its bio-engineered human proteins have the potential to make infant formula more "nutritionally complete." Will infant formula manufacturers revive unethical marketing practices that have led to death and illness for millions of children in the Third World?