Tag Archives: genetic resources

Genetic resources and integrated seed sector development training

Wageningen is offering a programme during April/May 2012 on approaches in genetic resources conservation and use, and integrated seed sector development in the context of climate change.

The programme consists of two three-week courses offered in parallel sessions: (1) Genetic resource policies and genetic resource management strategies, and (2) Integrated and participatory approaches in agrobiodiversity management. Additionally, one-day workshops on special topics are organised in which the participants of both courses will join.

The brochure goes on to explain:

 “The objective of the [first]… course of the training programme is to enhance participants’ capabilities to more effectively manage plant genetic resource conservation programmes and to use various strategies to support the sustainable use of genetic resources, whilst the objective of the other course is to strengthen participants’ knowledge and capabilities to support the concept of integrated seed sector development. In both courses relevant policies receive special attention…

…the training programme is designed for mid-career professionals working in genetic resource conservation or seed sector development, from policy, research, education or development arenas”

For more details visit their website HERE.  Also, see the course brochure for details of fellowships available via the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) for nationals of certain countries.

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WIPO, ICG and the meeting of working groups on TK and Genetic Resources

I wanted to repost this from the IPKat, entitled “Progress on folklore, culture, genetic resources: ‘streamlining’ in sight.”  They are referring, with comment, to the WIPO media release “IGC Makes Significant Progress, Sets the Stage for Working Groups on GRs and TK

The following may be of interest to our readers:

“The third IWG, to take place from February 28 to March 4, 2011, will address the subject of intellectual property and genetic resources. The Committee transmitted a series of existing documents to IWG 3, and suggested that IWG 3 prepare a draft text of objectives and principles as well as a draft list of options for future work. These would be transmitted for consideration by the Committee at its next session in May 2011. Discussions on genetic resources also saw the introduction of new proposals by the African Group and by Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, and the United States of America. [The Kat suspects that, in practice, this will be the most keenly-contested area since the possibility of financial reward is so great and the interest in sharing it is correspondingly high].”

And I have to agree, the original article has MORE than its fair share of acronyms – something we of the CGIAR’s CAS-IP know all too much about…

(thanks to Francesca Re Manning for sending me this link)

Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources

Various news was posted back in October on the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization.  One was from Bioversity International “Bioversity welcomes Nagoya Protocol“.  A later update included a short interview with Michael Halewood, head of the Policy & Law Unit at Bioversity International

The interviewer asked about the implications of the Protocol on the International Treaty, in particular the Multilateral System (MLS) for access and benefit-sharing.  Michael Halewood explains that the fear was the protocol might ignore the Treaty, but that, in the end, language was used in the final agreement “adequately recognized the International Treaty”. 

I also asked Peter Munyi, Legal Counsel at ICIPE (and former consultant to CAS-IP) what his reactions to the Protocol were.  He had the following to say:

“With a Protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources having been adopted in October in Nagoya, focus now shifts on ratification, acceptance and approval. The protocol opens for signature on 2nd February 2011. The speed at which countries will move to deposit their instruments of ratification and approval of the protocol will the indicative of whether the compromises made in Nagoya have gone down well in the capitals of the negotiators.

It will also be interesting to see how the adopted protocol will in future shape discussions and negotiations on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and access and benefit sharing that are taking place at the FAO, WIPO and WHO. Work has already been cut out for the inter-sessional intergovernmental committee in preparation for the first meeting of the parties to the protocol, which in the earliest will take place in 2012 in India during COP 11.

There still remain a number of unsettled issues, including what the internationally recognized certificate will look like, the global multi-lateral benefit-sharing mechanism. However, before we start thinking about these issues all over again, it would be useful if we could start by congratulating all the negotiators for tireless work that has finally borne fruit, not forgetting the able leadership provided by Fernando Cassas and Tim Hodges to the process.”

You can access the protocol text from the IP-watch.org upload.

For more opinions on the agreement see:

Meeting review: TK at CBD COP 10” from TK bulletin,

Mixed reactions on new access and benefit sharing treaty” from TWN 

BIO’s take on the CBD Nagoya Protocol” from PatentlyBIOTech.

“Who owns the genes of the forest trees?”

trees image from stock xchngI was interested to learn that the question of who owns the genes of forest trees has no clear legal definition.  See the Press Release from an event connected with EURFORGEN[1] entitled “Who owns the genes of the forest trees?

“Is it the owner of the tree, the owner of the land or perhaps the finder of the propagating material who gains the ownership right?”

The press release went on to say (emphasis is my own):

“Carl Gustav Thornström of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences … had warned that we are moving towards too much political correctness on this whole genetic resources issue without proper regard to practicality… He made a plea for far better training of people in the interface between law and genetics so that perhaps new thinking could be applied to resolving these forest genetic conundrums.”

In addition to the materials on the EUFORGEN site there was a background paper prepared for the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture entitled: “The Use and Exchange of Forest Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The hope is that some legal frameworks on access and benefit sharing (including forest resources) might be delivered during the latest rounds of the CBD meetings taking place this month in Japan.

(thanks Karine Malgrand for sending the EURFORGEN link to me)


[1] “EUFORGEN is a collaborative programme among European countries to promote conservation and sustainable use of forest genetic resources.”