Close to 90 NGOs and farmers' organisations from Indonesia, the EU and around the world sent open letters to the EU Commission and the Indonesian government today, calling on them to refrain from any clause that restrict farmers' rights in a future free trade agreement.
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 – a 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.
For years the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) has linked yield increases in Vietnam to the introduction of the UPOV system. A study «Plant Variety Protection in Practice in Vietnam: The Pains in the Gains Achieved» published today reveals that the message spread by UPOV to promote its system is absurd, incorrect, and misleading. SEARICE, APBREBES and Fastenopfer therefore call on UPOV and all other stakeholders to stop spreading misinformation about the benefits of Vietnam’s membership to UPOV.
The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), in its meetings of 17th March, agreed to hold a joint symposium on 26th October with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (“ITPGRFA”) on the interrelations between the ITPGRFA and the UPOV Conventions.
“APBREBES is concerned that this decision backtracks and contradicts the process outlined by the Secretariat of the ITPGRFA in its Notification GB6-028 and is completely inadequate to implement the Resolutions of its Governing Body. There is a risk that the long needed comprehensive analysis of the possible contradictions between the ITPGRFA and UPOV Conventions will never be accomplished”, said Susanne Gura from APBREBES.
A new tool to assist developing countries in designing a “custom made” plant variety protection legislation suitable for the seed and agricultural systems that prevail in developing countries has been published by an international group of NGOs.
The ground breaking “Plant Variety Protection in Developing Countries: A Tool for Designing a Sui Generis Plant Variety Protection System: An Alternative to UPOV 1991” is authored by intellectual property expert Professor Carlos Correa with contributions from Sangeeta Shashikant and François Meienberg.
Today the UPOV Council confirmed that the Draft ARIPO Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants is in conformity with the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention allowing ARIPO Members that ratify the Protocol to become a party to the UPOV Convention. According to a legal opinion written by Prof. Thomas Cottier from the World Trade Institute the decision taken is not in line with the 1991 Act of UPOV.
Today, the UPOV Council adopted new rules for granting of observers status to its sessions. These amendments are aimed at restricting the participation of NGOs and farmer communities in UPOV meetings.
This week the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) celebrates its 50th anniversary behind closed doors. UPOV has in its first 50 years, especially through its 1991 Convention strengthened breeders’ rights and supported the interest of the seed industry at the expense of farmers’ rights and the interests and needs of developing countries putting the right to food at risk. - To play a role in sustainable development and food security the organisation needs a dramatic change.
The decision of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) to grant observer status to civil society and farmers’ organizations at its annual ordinary session on October 21, 2010 suggest the possibility of a new era of transparency and inclusiveness in UPOV’s discussions.
by European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) & Association for Plant Breeding for the Benefit of Society (APBREBES)
The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) will decide next week if it will open its doors to farmers and civil society organizations that work in the interest of peasants, small and medium scale farmers and the broader public.