Tag Archives: the international treaty

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.

Expression of interest; Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge in the Pacific

The following text is an email that was recently circulated for an expression of interest for a study. (Thanks Helen for forwarding).  Applications close on 15 July 2010.

The text of the email reads:

CTA/SPC Initiative:

Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge in the Pacific

Expression of interest are invited for provision of consultancy services to undertake independent, rigorous and detailed study to assist SPC provide its member PICTs with the appropriate tools to protect and promote traditional/indigenous knowledge, specifically within the context of the ITPGRFA, at the regional and national levels.

The scope of activities should include (but is not limited to);

*      A review of international, regional and/or national and/or local initiatives and best practices to comply with Article 9 of the ITPGRFA;
*      An assessment of SPC’s responsibilities and opportunities for addressing the protection of traditional/indigenous knowledge in relation to the ITPGRFA;
*      Consultations in three ITPGRFA Contracting Parties(including Fiji) through in-country visits to explore their understanding, application of and concerns around Article 9 of the ITPGRFA;
*      Consultations with key stakeholders at the regional and international level to identify areas for partnership and collaboration to advance the protection of traditional/indigenous knowledge relevant to PGRFA and enhance farmers’ rights in accordance with Article 9 of the ITPGRFA.

The consultancy services are to be provided over 25 working days to complete the first draft of the report to SPC for comments and feedback.  Five days will be allocated to the desk review, fifteen days to the field visits and five days to complete the report. SPC will review the drafts; recommend adjustments and other inputs for a second draft.  The consultancy should take place in July-August 2010.

Expressions of interest should contain the following information:
*      Details of the consultant including curriculum vitae, referees, past experience in this area of work and demonstrated ability to meet deadlines
*      A listing of previous similar assignments with fees received
*      Availability
*      Description of suggested methodology
*      Work plan with suggested timeline

For detailed Terms of reference, please contact Sushil Narayan at sushiln@spc.int <mailto:sushiln@spc.int>  or phone 3370733 ext, 226

Expressions of Interest should be sent to: Attention: Mrs Sushil Narayan, SPC, Private, Mailbag Suva Fiji,  Phone 3370733 ext 226,  Or on sushiln@spc.int

Application close on 15 July 2010

Qualified and experienced women and Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply.

SPC: http://www.spc.int/

New book on the market:”Gene Patents and Collaborative Licensing Models”


CAS-IP manager, Victoria Henson-Apollonio contributed a chapter to a book that is now available from Cambridge University Press.  The full title of the book is:

“Gene Patents and Collaborative Licensing Models Patent Pools, Clearinghouses, Open Source Models and Liability Regimes”

The chapter that Victoria contributed is entitled:

“The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). The Standard Material Transfer Agreement as implementation of a limited compensatory liability regime”

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

In times of swine flu; protecting the rights of developing countries over genetic resources


How do we ensure that genetic material for vaccines and viruses, which could help fight the current threat of Mexican swine flu, are transferred and shared effectively?  The material used to develop a vaccine could be transferred by using a Standard Material Transfer Agreement (“SMTA”) of the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the “International Treaty”) – despite the material being used neither for food nor for animal feed.
However, many developed nations, including the United States (which incidentally is not party to the International Treaty) have objected to the use of the SMTA claiming that it’s broad provisions lead to unacceptable delays during times when a serious health threat is posed.  This has meant that a considerable amount of material has been distributed without the use of an SMTA. 

Developing countries fear their natural resources may be used to create a vaccine, but then the benefits will not be shared with them.  Or, an additional risk could be that materials given to the World Health Organization (“WHO”) with the intent to prevent a pandemic could be transferred to private companies for the manufacture of vaccines and then perhaps used for different purposes. 

Despite objections being made by some countries regarding the use of the SMTA in the sharing of viruses, the WHO Secretariat is already exploring this possibility, and is considering whether there are any lessons to learn from the use of an SMTA in access and sharing of benefits within the multilateral system of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture created by the International Treaty.

The question is: despite these specific reasons for not wanting to use the SMTA, is it not true that something should anyway be done to the language of the document as it is too broad?

The original blog post was written by Francesca Re Manning with contributions from Peter Munyi.  Both Francesca and Peter are consultants to CAS-IP.