Update to post: Report to the UN General Assembly on “The Right to Food” http://casipblog.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/seed-policies-and-the-right-to-food-enhancing-agrobiodiversity-and-encouraging-innovation-report-to-the-un-general-assembly/
On the 15th October 2009, we published a post about the Report to the UN General Assembly on “Seed Policies and the Right to Food”. This document has also been sent to us by numerous contacts in our extended network. Victoria Henson-Apollonio, Manager of CAS-IP has some initial comments:
“Intellectual Property Rights and seed systems feature in the report of the special rapporteur on the Right to Food of the UN. These are key issues for the CGIAR. It is very important to note that this report now raises awareness among an audience that may not have previously realised the importance of these issues. The recommendations are a comprehensive catalog of ideas encompassing a wide range of suggestions. However, the summary itself seems to be an industrious recap of arguments and ideas that some may consider well known and in some cases even outdated.
For those of us that work in this uneven terrain on a daily basis, it seems a missed opportunity for serious discussion on the dynamic relationships between the domain of IPRs/farmers rights/farmer preferences/contracts/contract law/competition law/seed law and food security.
It is on one hand heartening to see these issues being presented at such a high level. However, the lasting impression I have after reading the document is of disappointment and sadness of missed opportunities. Of course we have to wait for the full report and hope that it provides a clearer analysis of solid data. It is curious to note that for several people in our IP in agriculture & development network, this report came as a surprise; they (including us at CAS-IP) have so far not been consulted even though the CGIAR is specifically referred to and this is our area of experience from a practical level. The recommendations of the report will involve many, many years of hard work. It is essential that recommendations logically flow from an analysis of the data and that clear indicators are developed to measure success in obtaining the goals.
Let’s wait for the presentation of the background documents that have led to the report, monitor reactions in the mean time. Let’s involve ourselves in the discussions that likely follow from the political attention that these important issues have received.”