BIO-IPR resource pointer IU CG6


Several NGO initiatives to empress public rejection of intellectual property rights on life have hit the streets in the past few days.



The IU embodies an extremely important commitment: to protect the genetic diversity of food crops and keep it available for all. The problem is that the biotech industry wants to access genetic resources freely and then enjoy private intellectual monopoly rights on them, especially in the form of patents. This severely threatens the future of plant breeding worldwide and undercuts the rights and benefits that everyone else should enjoy from the collective safekeeping and development of agbiodiversity.

The countries negotiating this intergovernmental treaty meet next week -- 23-28 April 2001 -- in Spoleto, Italy.

A range of NGOs are trying to stimulate greater public involvement in the discussions, and secure an IPR-free genetic resources system for the sake of food security.


- "Keep Crop Seeds Patent-Free In Order To Maintain World Food Security", Media Release, 20 April 2001.

- "International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: Keep Our Seeds Free From Property Rights", international sign-on letter, April 2001.



"Frequently Unasked Questions about the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources", GenoType, 19 April 2001.



"Who will gain control over seeds and foodstuffs?", Fact Sheet on the FAO Conference on Access to Genetic Resources and Preservation of Biodiversity in Spoleto, Italy, 23-28 April, Greenpeace, Hamburg, April 2001.

Copies available from <> or check their websites <> (Germany) and <> (international)

UK abc

The UK's Agricultural Biodiversity Coalition actively maintains a webpage on the IU negotiations, with links to the materials above in several languages (Spanish, French, Portuguese), as well as continuous updates and media reports.




A dozen organisations have launched a process to establish the earth's gene pool as a "global commons" to be jointly shared by all peoples. This process takes the form of a treaty that will be presented at the Rio+10 summit in Johannesburg next year. The overall objective is to ensure that no one can have monopoly rights over biological resources. The draft treaty, and a letter from the initiators inviting people to join the process, is available so far in English, French and Spanish. English letter and treaty draft


Spanish and French versions


If you would like to participate in this process, or for further information, please contact:

The Treaty Initiative to Share the Genetic Commons

1660 L Street NW, Suite 216

Washington, DC 20036


Tel: (1-202) 466 28 23

Fax: (1-202) 429 96 02

Email: <>


ABOUT THIS LISTSERVER -- BIO-IPR is an irregular listserver put out by

Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN). Its purpose is to circulate

information about recent developments in the field of intellectual property

rights related to biodiversity & associated knowledge. BIO-IPR is a strictly

non-commercial and educational service for nonprofit organisations and

individuals active in the struggle against IPRs on life.

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