RAILROADING AFRICAN GOVTS INTO ADOPTING ARIPO PVP PROTOCOL BASED ON UPOV 1991: AFSA APPEALS TO ARIPO MEMBER STATES FOR POSTPONEMENT OF DIPLOMATIC CONFERENCE AND FOR URGENT CONSULTATIONS WITH SMALL-HOLDER FARMERS
AFSA attended a Regional Workshop on the ARIPO PVP Protocol, 29-31 October 2014, in Harare Zimbabwe, where numerous technical and administrative flaws continue to characterise the process. In particular, member states were forced into accepting a recommendation, disguised as if crafted by them, mandating ARIPO to urgently organize and call for the Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of the Protocol. In reality, member states, instead, unanimously endorsed the need for further consultations to be held at national levels and independent expert review of the draft ARIPO PVP Protocol and that talk of a Diplomatic Conference to adopt the Protocol is hopelessly premature.
The Draft Labeling Standards are non-binding in the sense that they do not create legally binding obligations and responsibilities. As such, they are also not legally enforceable. The lack of teeth of the standards is not cured by the fact that the Zambian Bureau of Standards, a statutory body, produces the standards. However, the standards do fit well into the efforts underway in Zambia, regarding its establishment of a detection laboratory for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and more generally, its proactive policy on biosafety on the African continent. According to Zambia‘s National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR), the new laboratory is being built to safeguard Zambian’s health and maintain a sustainable environment. The goal is also to have the new facility accredited as a regional and national referral laboratory. It is quite possible that the laboratory may qualify as one of the Biotechnology Centres of Excellence contemplated by the Science and Technology Secretariat established under the auspices of the New Partnership for Africa‘s Development (NEPAD), although no decision has yet been made by NEPAD’s Science and Technology Steering Committee which institutions would form part of the Centre of Excellence networks.
In the “Forward” to