EU lawmakers back “intellectual property rights” over biodiversity

On 12 September 2013, the European Parliament has agreed to rules that would prevent EU companies, particularly in the pharmaceuticals sector, from exploiting the natural resources of the world's indigenous communities by recognising their 'intellectual property rights' over local biodiversity. An additional step forward towards the inclusion of indigenous communities and the protection against biopiracy.


© Rebel / pixelio.de
Bonn, 16 September 2013 - In the vote on 12 September, MEPs rubber-stamped the next stage of the EU's ratification of the Nagoya protocol, a UN convention on biodiversity signed by leaders in the Japanese city in 2010. This convention regulates the protection of biodiversity by setting limits on the amount of a genetic resource, such as plant or animal material, that companies can utilize to use as ingredients for their products.

The rules also confer ownership of the resources to the indigenous communities where they are found and 'intellectual property rights' to traditional knowledge associated with them. French Green MEP Sandrine Bélier, who led the proposal through Parliament, said: "This legislation is a real step forward. It reinforces the sharing of benefits, offers better traceability along the user chain from research to marketing, and sets up a mechanism against biopiracy.”

Though there were attempts aiming to weaken the report and the presence of the EU at the negotiating table, the Parliament sent a strong signal to the global community and the EU that international obligations must be respected. EU’s top environment official, Janez Potočnik, added that the "Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Regulation will protect the rights of indigenous and local communities related to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources; and on the other hand it has important implications for European innovation and economic growth.”

To view the complete news and different political positions from members of the European Parliament, click here.
Tags: Biodiversity Management | Health Care and pharmaceuticals | Agriculture and food | Supply Chain Management | Natural Resources


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