SEARICE commends the Commission for convening the First Ad Hoc Working Group on ABS for GRFA that came up with various suggestions on how ABS can be attained in the conservation and use of GRFA.
However, we need to remind ourselves that the discussion on ABS should benefit small farmers, who need access to GRFA for further breeding activities, and who need to benefit from diverse GRFA. We need to rethink IPRs and PBRs and to this end, we urge that in ABS discussions in the Commission, a review be conducted on how intellectual property rights impact on farmers’ rights, GRFA conservation, development and use; and agricultural biodiversity. Paragraph 5d of Decision X/34 of the CBD encourages the CBD, FAO and CGIAR to “review the trends on the extent of patents and other intellectual property rights, such as plant variety protection, applied for and granted over plant, animal and microbial genetic resources, x x x including the impacts of such property rights on local and indigenous communities, and small-scale farmers in developing countries…”
SEARICE encourages the Commission to seriously heed this call.