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Cablegate: Merkel Gives Credence to Biopiracy Claims Ahead of Cbd

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG TBIO EAGR PGOV GM
SUBJECT: MERKEL GIVES CREDENCE TO BIOPIRACY CLAIMS AHEAD OF CBD
COP-9 CONFERENCE


1. SUMMARY: Biodiversity was the theme of the CDU/CSU caucus
conference of the German Bundestag, held April 9 in Berlin. In a
keynote address German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she expects the
Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) Conference of the Parties (COP-9)
will send a clear signal on the need to protect biodiversity
worldwide. Merkel gave credence to biopiracy concerns, which charge
that pharmaceutical companies unethically privatize indigenous
knowledge. Developing country representatives expressed hope that
the conference will be the starting point for a "Bonn Protocol" on
world biodiversity. END SUMMARY.

2. At the CDU/CSU caucus conference of the German Bundestag,
Chancellor Merkel focused on the importance of forming international
and national alliances -- comprised of scientific, political,
private sector, indigenous and local community stakeholders -- for
the protection of biodiversity. The goal, she said, should be to
work for the protection of species that are threatened with
extinction as the result of human actions. Merkel said she expects
that COP-9, which will take place May 19-30 in Bonn, will deliver
concrete results and programs to help developing countries find
solutions for problems such deforestation or biopiracy. The term
biopiracy refers to the patenting of knowledge and genetic resources
developed by indigenous communities without authorization by or
compensation to such groups.

3. The President of the Republic of Madagascar, Marc Ravalomanana,
said that developing countries are aware of the social and
economical risks of biodiversity loss. While such countries know
about the importance of protecting the environment, they often
cannot afford to do so. He criticized industrialized countries for
not doing enough to combat biopiracy and claimed it is immoral to
patent "their" property -- particularly indigenous biomedical
knowledge about species -- without compensation to the local groups
who originally developed such knowledge. The primary challenge,
Ravalomanana said, is to make environmental protection economically
sustainable. He also pointed out that biodiversity needs a protocol
similar to the Kyoto Protocol with clear regulatory measures,
voluntary measures, and economic incentives. He expressed hope that
the May conference would be the starting point for a "Bonn Protocol"
on world biodiversity.

4. Columbian Vice President Francisco Santos and Meena Raman,
President of Friends of the Earth International, highlighted the
urgent need to create a regime to distribute generic resources in a
fair way and, most importantly, to find financial instruments to
support the protection of biodiversity in developing countries.
Both spoke against biopiracy, stressing the importance of
sustainable production, in which no forest is destroyed for the
profit of "rich" countries.

5. COMMENT: Merkel will address the High-Level Segment of the
COP-9 on May 28. Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel and EU
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will present an "Economics of
Ecosystems and Biodiversity" report on May 29. This report is
modeled after the Stern Review on climate change and will calculate
the economic costs from dwindling species.

TIMKEN JR.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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