TWN: LDC TRIPS exemption approved with mixed reactions On 11 June the World Trade Organisation (WTO) members adopted a decision for the world's poorest nations (known as "Least Developed Countries (LDCs)") to exercise their right to be exempted from implementing the organisation's intellectual property rights Agreement (also known as "the TRIPS Agreement"). The exemption is until 1 July 2021 and is without prejudice to the right of LDCs to request an extension of the exemption, beyond 2021.
The Economic, Social and Ethical Committee of the High Council of Biotechnologies (an authority for evaluation, expertise and consultation, established by law in 2008) in its Recommendations on Intellectual Property, published on 12th June 2013, made several statements regarding the interpretation and further development of PVP law.
The UPOV Council, the Consultative Committee, and the Administrative and Legal Committee met between 20 and 22 March 2013
The key matters addressed were, among others, the Plant Breeders’ Right Bill of Zanzibar; Programme and Budget 2014-2015, Explanatory Notes to the 1991 Convention on three topics, including Essentially Derived Varieties, and Harvested Materials; developments of relevance to UPOV in other international fora; and participation of observers at the Advisory Committee to the Administrative and Legal Committee.
Civil society organisations from the SADC region, and around the world have condemned the SADC draft Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders’ Rights) as spelling disaster for small farmers and food security in the region. These groups, representing millions of farmers in Africa and around the world have submitted their concerns to the SADC Secretariat. They are calling for the rejection of the Protocol and urgent consultations with farmers, farmer movements and civil society before it’s too late.
It has become crucial to defend seeds. In the past 20 or 30 years, what was once seen as normal – peasant farmers growing, selecting, saving and exchanging seeds – has come under attack from corporations seeking to control and commodify the very basis of agriculture. This was the subject of the session at the World Social Forum in Tunis on Peasant Seeds jointly organized on March 28, 2013 by La Vía Campesina, GRAIN and the ETC Group.
Farmers’ and civil society organizations in Tanzania are concerned about the rush for Zanzibar to adopt its Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill. It would hasten Tanzania’s entry into the UPOV intellectual property legal framework with grave consequences for farmers.
For the statement and list of signatories: