ACP-EU resolution on biotechnology

by GRAIN | 5 Oct 1998
TITLE: ACP-EU Joint Assembly Resolution on "Biotechnology" AUTHOR: Africa, Caribbean, Pacific - European Union Joint Parliamentarian Assembly, Brussels, 21-24 September 1998 DATE: 24 September 1998 SOURCE: ACP-EU 2613/98/fin URL:

ACP-EU 2613/98/fin


Adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Assembly on 24 September 1998 in Brussels (Belgium)

The ACP-EU Joint Assembly,

meeting in Brussels (Belgium) from 21 to 24 September 1998,

A. having regard to the convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the ongoing negotiations on the Biosafety protocol by governments party to the CBD,

B. having regard to the EU Directive on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions (98/44/EC),

C. having regard to the GATT agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIP),

D. alarmed at the rapid increase in the unauthorised bio-prospecting and commercialisation of the biological resources, traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of local and indigenous communities,

E. deeply concerned at the lack of binding protection of such knowledge, innovations, practices and biological resources against unauthorised commercialisation in the European Union directive on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions,

F. bearing in mind the general principle of the Lomé Convention whereby ACP-EU cooperation shall support the efforts of the ACP States to achieve comprehensive self-reliant and self- sustained development based on their cultural and social values,

G. considering it necessary to implement measures proposed in countries that are users of genetic resources, such as procedural and/or substantive changes in intellectual property law, which will require disclosure of the country of origin and/or proof of prior informed consent as referred to by the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity,

H. considering that genes of living organisms are the basic 'raw materials' for biotechnology and that the majority of the world's genetic resources can be found in developing countries,

I. whereas, in the field of biotechnology, developing countries are net exporters of resources and net importers of technology,

1. Confirms the importance of the principles incorporated in the CBD such as 'the precautionary principle', 'prior informed consent when accessing genetic resources', 'sovereign rights of states over their national genetic resources', 'access to and transfer of technology and information' and 'the equal distribution of benefits derived from biotechnology'; asks the European Union, its Member States and ACP countries to fully respect these principles in their legislation and to promote these principles in the proper international fora;

2. Notes that biotechnology can make a positive contribution in the field of sustainable agriculture and the progress of human health and medicine but is concerned at the negative impacts on the environment, biological diversity, traditional lifestyles, etc; therefore calls for ecological, ethical, social and economic considerations to be taken into account when dealing with biotechnology in all its aspects;

3. Proposes that the new Lomé Convention should include provisions relating to the principles of Article 8(j) of the CBD concerning the preservation of knowledge, innovation and the practices of indigenous and local communities and their intellectual and cultural property rights, including approval, involvement and the equitable sharing of benefits of any use of such resources;

4. Notes that, in general, Third World countries lack an adequate legal framework for regulating biotechnology; therefore urges the ACP States to implement a legal framework to regulate biotechnology, intellectual property rights and other

related issues; furthermore, urges the ACP States and the EU to make an inventory of natural resources and to set up databases and gene banks; asks the European Union to support the ACP States by providing technical and financial means;

5. Acknowledges that local and indigenous communities, as a result of their traditional lifestyles, make a special contribution to genetic diversity and have traditional knowledge concerning the use of many species; therefore calls for special attention be given to the 'traditional resource rights' of indigenous and local communities;

6. Calls on the EU and its Member States as a matter of urgency to conclude negotiations on a binding Biosafety Protocol (which safeguards human and animal health, the environment, biological diversity and the socio-economic welfare of societies from the potential risks of biotechnology);

7. Instructs its Co-Presidents to forward this resolution to the ACP-EU Council and the Commission, and the secretariat of the CBD.

Author: GRAIN
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