The CBD Initiative on GURTs: A Significant Step in Stormy Waters

Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs) have attracted intense international debate, as many public interest groups and developing country governments have concerns about the role of technology in locking up the benefits and undermining concerns over biodiversity, biosafety, intellectual property rights, traditional knowledge, food security, health, and economic dependence. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) established a technical expert group to examine the potential impacts of GURTs on indigenous and small farming communities. Areas of concern about GURTs include: 1) Farmers’ Rights per article 9 of the 2001 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; 2) the increased accommodation of traditional knowledge under the CBD; 3) the burgeoning international momentum onthe concept of indigenous intellectual property rights; and 4) the public domain considerations as a key theoretical plank of intellectual property rights concept. TheCBD‘s expert group to which the author was appointed will be significant in shaping the future direction of these sensitive issues.


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Oguamanam, Chidi, The CBD Initiative on GURTs: A Significant Step in Stormy Waters (2003). 32 Bulletin of the Canadian Indigenous Biodiversity Network 2003.

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