NGOs: Farmers’ Rights Should Be Safeguarded In Activities Of Plant Treaty, WIPO, UPOV 29/09/2014 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Over 50 organisations have co-signed a letter to the International Plant Treaty calling for it to safeguard the implementation of farmers’ rights in the context of joint activities with the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). In a 18 September open letter [pdf] to the secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), civil society groups the Third World Network and the Bern Declaration are underlining Article 9 of the international treaty, on farmers’ rights, which includes the right to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed. In September 2013, during the 5th session of the ITPGRFA Governing Body, a resolution was adopted on Article 9, requesting “the Secretary to invite UPOV and WIPO to jointly identify possible areas of interrelations among their respective international instruments” (Article 3 of the resolution [pdf]). In January, the secretary of the ITPGRFA sent a letter to UPOV Secretary-General Francis Gurry, suggesting that that, “Without intending to prejudge its outcome, this consultation process could for example lead to joint publication by UPOV, WIPO and the International Treaty on interrelated issues regarding innovation and plant genetic resources among our respective instruments.” According to the civil society groups, the resolution “concerns implementation of Article 9, thus the identification of interrelations should be with regard to Farmers’ Rights and be supportive of the implementation of Article 9 and the Treaty.” “Discussing innovation and plant genetic resources is inconsistent with the mandate given by the Resolution,” they added. Some key questions need answering before any joint publication is undertaken, the groups argue, such as the impact of UPOV’s requirement on farmers’ rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and other propagating material; the scope and content of WIPO’s technical assistance with regard to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and to what extent are the negotiations of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore taking into account the need to uphold farmers’ rights. The groups call for the joint publication project to be halted and called for the ITPGRFA to “take lead and invite UPOV and WIPO to agree to the setting up of an independent Commission that will investigate implementation of Article 9 by UPOV and WIPO with regard to their respective instruments and activities.” Such a commission should invite written submissions and hold public hearings, they said. Some 54 organisations signed the letter, including Oxfam, La Via Campesina, the ETC group, the Development Fund, and Swissaid. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."NGOs: Farmers’ Rights Should Be Safeguarded In Activities Of Plant Treaty, WIPO, UPOV" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.