Tag Archive: access to information

ACB to battle SA Govt., Monsanto over controversial GM ‘drought tolerant’ maize

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has on 7th August 2015, lodged an appeal to Agriculture, Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Senzeni Zokwana, against the general release approval of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize, MON87460 granted by the Executive Council (EC): GMO Act. Such approval means that Monsanto can sell the GM maize seed, MON87460, to farmers in South Africa for cultivation.
MON87460 is alleged to be ‘drought tolerant;’ a claim the ACB vehemently disputes.
Administrative justice, procedural fairness and sound science to the test
The appeal is a test for administrative justice and procedural fairness in regard to GM decision-making in South Africa. Administrative decision-making must be based on rigorous food safety, environmental and socio-economic assessments of the potential adverse effects of MON87460, taking into international biosafety best practice.
According to the ACB, the EC’s approval is typical of GM decision-making, which simply reiterates and summarises information provided by Monsanto, who has a clear vested interest in the approval.  Such “rubber stamping” is unlawful. The EC is under a legal obligation to apply a risk averse and cautious approach, which takes into account uncertainties and the limits of current knowledge about the consequences of approving MON87460 for commercial

Public Participation in context of Patent Laws in South Africa

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has only recently commenced its work in the fi eld of bioprospecting and biopiracy. A booklet as part of our Biosafety, Biopiracy and Biopolitics series titled, ?Bioprospecting, Biopiracy and Indigenous Knowledge: two case studies from the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa? by Koyama and Mayet, has been published. In addition, the ACB acting on the instructions of a community in the Eastern Cape Province, and supported by a Swiss based NGO, the Berne Declaration, has formally challenged two patents granted to German based Schwabe Pharmaceuticals on the grounds that the patents are illegal as they duplicate and misappropriate the traditional knowledge of communities in South Africa. The ACB is committed to the protection of South Africa’s astonishingly rich biodiversity and traditional knowledge of its communities. Part of this interest is expressed by our interrogation of the regulations that promote the exploitation and privatisation of biodiversity and knowledge.

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