September 2013

Take “mosaic” approach to agriculture, boost support for small farmers, UNCTAC Report urges
UNCTAD press release, 18 September 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs, greater support for small-scale farmers, and more locally focused production and consumption of food, a new UNCTAD report recommends. Subtitled “Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate,” the Trade and Environment Report 2013 warns that continuing rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. It says that urgent and far-reaching action is needed before climate change begins to cause major disruptions to agriculture, especially in developing countries. The report recommends a rapid and significant shift away from “conventional, monoculture-based… industrial production” of food that depends heavily on external inputs such as fertilizer, agro-chemicals, and concentrate feed. Instead, it says that the goal should be “mosaics of sustainable regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers and foster rural development”. The report stresses that governments must find ways to factor in and reward farmers for currently unpaid public goods they provide – such as clean water, soil and landscape preservation, protection of biodiversity, and recreation. Read the press release … Additional information, including links to downloads …

Realising Farmers’ Rights to Crop Genetic Resources: Success stories and best practices
Regine Andersen and Tone Winge (eds)
Routledge, June 2013 | ISBN: 978-0-415-64384-9

Launched during the fifth session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), held from 24-28 September 2013, in Muscat, Oman, this book shows the necessity of realizing farmers’ rights for poverty alleviation and food security, the practical possibilities of doing so, and the potential gains for development and society at large. It provides decision-makers and practitioners with a conceptual framework for understanding farmers’ rights and success stories showing how each of the elements of farmers’ rights can be realized in practice. The success stories have brought substantial achievements as regards one or more of the four elements of farmers’ rights: the rights of farmers to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed; the protection of traditional knowledge; benefit- sharing; and participation in decision-making. In addition, challenges encountered on the way are conveyed and offer important lessons. The stories represent different regions and localities, including Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as various categories of stakeholders and types of initiatives and policies. Further information …

ITPGRFA: Options to Promote the Wider Application of Article 6.11 of the SMTA and the Enhance Benefit-Sharing
Legal opinion by Carlos Correa
Berne Declaration, Development Fund, July 2013

Issued on the occasion of the fifth session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), this legal opinion argues that the Treaty’s current Multilateral System (MLS) of access and benefit-sharing is unable to fulfill its objective of fair and equitable benefit-sharing. It shows that within the framework of the Treaty, parties are given some flexibility to change the standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA), in order to raise the share of benefits. In particular, an increased applicability of a crop-based option, like the current Art. 6.11 of the SMTA, should play an important role in this regard. As a next step, the options will have to be double-checked by means of an economic analysis which estimates the realistic income that would be generated through a revised benefit-sharing mechanism. Download the legal opinion [pdf] …

Governance of Protected Areas: From understanding to action
Vol. 20 of the IUCN Best Practice in Protected Areas Guidelines Series
IUCN, with ICCA Consortium, GIZ, CBD Secretariat, 2013

This publication reflects the growing importance of governance issues in conservation. Over the past decades there has been a dramatic change in understanding about how governance of protected areas impacts on the achievement of their conservation goals. IUCN has defined four different forms of governance of protected areas. Along with state-run protected areas, managed by government employees, there are protected areas established and managed by indigenous peoples, local communities, ecotourism organisations, nonprofit trusts, private individuals, commercial companies and religious institutions, as well as a wealth of shared-governance arrangements between them. Finding the right mix of governance types within a protected area system and improving the quality of governance of individual sites remains one of the key challenges for bridging the implementation gap in CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas, particularly in relation to effective participation, human rights, equity and benefit sharing. Part 1 of the publication deals with concepts and principles to understand the four main protected area governance types recognised by IUCN, featuring numerous examples from all over the world, and their role in the wider conservation landscape; as well as outlining criteria for quality of protected area governance. Part 2 offers practical guidance for countries willing to embark on the process of assessing, evaluating and improving governance for their systems of protected areas or for individual protected area sites. Access the resource website …

WIPO General Assembly Opens With Loaded Agenda
IP Watch, 23 September 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Held from 23 September to 2 October 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly opened with an unusual number of issues for delegates to solve, in particular those inherited from the committee in charge of approving the budget and the programmes of the organisation earlier in the month. Among pressing issues are WIPO external offices and decisions to be made on potential treaties such as on industrial designs, the protection of broadcasting organisations, and the protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Referring to ongoing negotiations under the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions (IGC), WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said that “it is of the utmost importance to bring this work to a satisfactory conclusion.” However, controversies remain regarding holding a diplomatic conference in the next biennium and whether negotiations should aim to a legally binding instrument(s) or not.

In related news, the WIPO Secretariat has made available for comments the initial draft report of IGC 25. The deadline for submission of comments is 15 October 2013.

Read the IP Watch article … Read WIPO’s opening press release … Download the report of the WIPO Director General to the Assemblies [pdf] … Read the IGC 25 initial draft report …

Rio Conventions Pavilion at UNCCD COP11
17-26 September 2013 (Windhoek, Namibia)

Held in parallel with the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and hosted by the Rio Conventions Secretariats and the Global Environment Facility, the Rio Conventions Pavilion meets under the overarching theme of “Shaping our Future: Rio+20 outcome follow-up and moving towards the post 2015 development agenda.” On 17 September 2013, the Indigenous and Local Community Sustainable Land Managers Day was held, organized by UNDP/Equator Initiative and other partners. The day included sessions on: reviving drylands – sustainable use of water in Sub-Saharan Africa; beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – combating desertification, climate change and biodiversity loss post-2015; engaging with extractive industries – can it work; overcoming the challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought – best practices for sustainable land management and the strengthening of alternative livelihoods; and knowledge exchange for capacity building – networks and learning platforms. In the evening a reception was hosted by the World Indigenous Network (WIN), during which the Equator Initiative launched a book titled “Community-Based Sustainable Land Management: Best Practices in Drylands from the Equator Initiative.” Read the IISD Reporting Services’ report on the day … Visit the Rio Conventions Pavilion website …

Valuing the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands
CBD Technical Study no 71, CBD Secretariat, UNCCD Global Mechanism and OSLO Consortium, 2013

This peer-reviewed report was published as a response to the request by the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) for a report on the value of dry and sub-humid lands, taking into account the role of pastoralists and other indigenous and local communities in the conservation and sustainable use of the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands and their associated traditional knowledge (COP Decision X/35). It includes an introduction on drylands biodiversity, valuation, and how valuation can help in the drylands context; and sections on: the value of drylands biodiversity and ecosystem services – current state of economic information; filling knowledge gaps – conducting valuation studies; and using valuation information in policy-making. The report concludes that dryland ecosystems are the result of centuries of human-animal-environment interaction, largely by pastoral groups. Many people in the drylands pursue livelihoods that conserve biodiversity in innovative ways, but well-managed pastoralism has the possibility of making a difference for many more. Drylands agriculture, following sustainable land management practices, can also contribute to positive socioeconomic and biodiversity outcomes. Because they are economically and culturally viable, the probability is that, given the opportunity, dryland ecosystems will be conserved informally by communities living in the area. Many traditional land management practices have proven to be more economically viable than “modern” alternatives, and simultaneously provide conservation benefits. When market failures occur, however, opportunities arise to revisit policies and see what needs to be adjusted. Download the report [pdf] …

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