Tag Archive: NEMBA

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.

read more

EIA regulations and GMOs in South Africa

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has done considerable work with regard to the need for environmental impact assessments of GMOs and the limitations of current legislation. This work can be found on the ACB‘s website, www.biosafetyafrica.org.za

We have perused the new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations, regulating procedures and criteria for conducting EIAs as set out in chapter 5 of the National Environmental Management Act no 107 of 1998 (NEMA), which came into effect on 2 August 2010.i

These have been changed in a number of respects, but the situation in respect of GMOs remain unchanged. The listing of GMOs as a schedule 1 activity under the National Environmental Management and Biodiversity Act, 2004 (NEMBA) is still the same, meaning that only a basic assessment needs to be conducted when GMOs are released into the environment.ii However, the new section 78 of NEMBA, amended in 2009, does give the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs the authority to call for an EIA when there is reason to believe that the release may pose a threat to any indigenous species or the environment. To date, the Minister has not used her Authority to do so.

The privatisation of Publically Funded Research in South Africa; Lessons from the US Bayh-Dole experience

In this paper, we present an overview of South Africa‘s Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly funded research and development Act, which imitates the US Bayh-Dole Act. The paper draws on the experience of the Bahy-Dole legislation in the US to show the shortcomings of the common approach aimed at facilitating the transfer of innovative research from the public to the private sector by way of IRP protection including patents. In the US, the Bayh-Dole has dramatically changed the nature of publicly financed institutions from those conducting pure research to quasi commercial entities withholding information in the quest for patent protection.

By Michelle Misaki Koyama

read more

Support our appeal to the minister for Environmental Impact Assessment of GM maize GA21

On the13th of December 2009, Syngenta published a public notice of their intent to apply to the GMO Registrar for a permit for the general release of genetically modified maize, GA21. Having obtained a ‘non-confidential-business-information’ version of Syngenta’s application, it is our contention that the application cannot be adequately assessed. The information provided is sketchy at best, key information required for a full and thorough assessment of the event in question is designated confidential business information and therefore not made available to the very public who are expected to consume the product. Claims made regarding gene stability are by reference to information provided by the developer of the GMO and not to any independent, objective source. Additionally, assertions made as to the socio-economic benefits pertaining from a general release of GA21 are grossly misleading and do not hold up to objective scrutiny.

Please support us in our request to the Minsiter of Water and Environmental Affairs, Buyelwa Sonjica, to have Syngenta’s application for the general release of genetically modified maize GA21 subject to a full, independent environmental impact assessment.


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.

read more

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.

read more

Marine Bioprospecting – key challenges and the situation in South Africa

Marine bioprospecting, also known as marine natural products research, is concerned with the exploration and exploitation of the rich biological and chemical diversity found in marine organisms which inhabit the oceans. Marine bioprospecting is a relatively new endeavour, having its origins in the late 1940’s,8 when Werner Bergman ‘discovered’ arabinoside sugar in marine sponges, a substance which does not occur on land.9,10 This discovery led directly to the development of several anti-viral (ara-A) and anti-cancer (ara-C) compounds.11 Marine bioprospecting gained momentum in earnest during the 1970’s and 1980’s due to improved deep sea collection methods and analyses.12,13 Until then, marine bioprospecting was limited to places of high biodiversity and easy accessibility,such as the tropical seas and coral reefs.14

read more

ACB Submission on IPRs from Publicaly Funded Research Bill, 2007

Currently, South African intellectual property legislation is highly fragmented, a situation that gives rise to a number of gaps and anomalies that undermine the rights of indigenous people. “Indigenous people” is not clearly defined by NEMBA or it Draft Regulations except to refer to such people as residing in a defined geographical area to which indigenous knowledge is found.

read more

ACB Submission on Bioprospecting & ABS Draft Regulations, 2007


read more

South Africa – National Environmental Management Biodiver Act

Support Letter – Response To Open Invitation By Csir For The Development Of Guidelines To Implement The Provisions Of Section 78 Of The Biodiversity Act
EARTHLIFE AFRICA – eThekwini Branch

read more

Response To Open Invitation By Csir For The Development Of Guidelines To Implement The Provisions Of Section 78 Of The Biodiversity Act
Safe Food Coalition, March 2006

read more

Comments On Regulations Under Section 24(5) Of The National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (act No. 107 Of 1998) As Amended
Mariam Mayet, February 2005

read more

Implementation Of Section 78 Of The National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act: Key Issues And Challenges
August 2004

read more