Tag Archive: ABS

ACB Submission to the Department of Trade and Industry on the Intellectual Property Amendment Bill, 20 October 2010

The Intellectual Property Amendment Bill aims to strengthen intellectual property rights relating to traditional performances, traditional work, traditional terms of expressions and traditional designs.

The Bill has been widely condemned as sounding the death knell for traditional knowledge as it attempts to provide protection for Traditional Knowledge (TK) within a western intellectual property regime, originally developed for inventions such as machines. The ACB is asking that the Bill be scrapped and that instead, a sui generis system for protection of TK is provided for.

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African heritage crops threatened by South African GMO decision

Johannesburg – An Appeal Board established by the Minister of Land Affairs and Agriculture has overturned a landmark decision by a South African GMO authority on 15 June 2006, to refuse the experimentation of sorghum, a prized African heritage crop. The Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR), has now been given the go-ahead to proceed with the development of ‘Super Sorghum’ in a containment level three facility. The research is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation‘s African Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) project. The Gates Foundation is also heavily funding the ‘New Green Revolution for Africa‘, aimed at industrialising African agriculture.

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), which objected to the initial application by the CSIR, has condemned the decision, stating that experimentation with GM sorghum will inevitably result in the contamination of Africa‘s prized sorghum heritage. Haidee Swanby of the African Centre for Biosafety, comments: ‘Sorghum is a key staple crop for over 500 million people on the continent. The risks posed by GM sorghum to wild and weedy relatives cannot be tolerated at all and the granting of this permit is tantamount to a licence to taint Africa’s heritage.’

The ACB points

Critical overview of South Africa’s Bioprospecting laws

In this booklet, we provide an overview of the core provisions of the legislative framework governing bioprospecting, access and benefit sharing in South Africa. In particular, we highlight the lack of opportunity for public participation by civil society in the bioprospecting permitting process, problems with accessing information, issues relating to the restricted appeal process, and the apparent conflict between the bioprospecting laws and apartheid provincial legislation. These themes are discussed against the backdrop of the ACB’s experiences as an NGO seeking to engage in bioprospecting permitting processes on its own behalf or on behalf of affected communities.

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Biopiracy meeting ends with no progress

This article was published in the SUNS #6345, Wednesday, 17 October 2007. Any reproduction or re-circulation of this article requires the permission of the SUNS ( sunstwn@bluewin.ch). SUNS #6345 Wednesday 17 October 2007 south-north development monitor SUNS United Nations: Biopiracy meet ends with no progress

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ACB Submission on Bioprospecting & ABS Draft Regulations, 2007


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Out of Africa: Mysteries of access and benefit sharing

In late 2005 the Edmunds Institute and the African Centre for Biosafety contacted famed bio-pirate hunter Jay McGowan to investigate incidences of access and benefit sharing in Africa. Despite many constraints on the research, McGowan found a plethora of incidents where transnational corporations had utilised African biodiversity without concluding benefit sharing agreements with the local communities or countries they had acquired them from. In a personal note attached to his report, McGowan concluded:

‘It’s a free-for-all out there, and until the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) solve the problems of access and benefit sharing, the robbery will continue. They’ve got to declare a moratorium on access until a just protocol on access and benefit sharing is finished and implemented?until that work is done, the bio-pirates will keep on shouting in the ears of their victims, ?There’s no such thing as biopiracy!?’

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