Association for Plant Breeding for the Benefit of Society

APBREBES is a global network of civil society organisations that advocates for plant breeding for the benefit of society, the full implementation of farmers’ rights to plant genetic resources and the promotion of agricultural biodiversity.

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This research paper aims to identify the extent of the offensive efforts carried out by the European Union in the trade policy pursued by European Commission officials around the globe, advo­cating the adoption of formalised and strong plant variety protection in trade partners’ national laws.
Because of the negative effects on farmer managed seed systems, APBREBES and Both Ends are demanding the EU to stop requiring developing countries to adopt the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention through trade agreements or any other activ­ities.


The new APBREBES study “Searching for flexibility - Why parties to the 1978 Act of the UPOV Convention have not acceded to the 1991 Act” explores the debates around plant variety protection (PVP) in nine countries that are parties to UPOV 78.
The study reveals the quest of countries for flexibility in their regulation of PVP – flexibility severely restricted under UPOV 1991. The Author demonstrates that by far the most contentious aspect of UPOV 1991 has been its implications for farmers’ rights and peasant seed systems. Countries that have not acceded to the 1991 Act were trying to avoid exacerbating existing conflicts with other domestic and international legal norms, the study found. This highlights the importance of retaining the flexibility to adapt PVP laws to national needs and circumstances and therefore to refrain from acceding to UPOV 91.