4-Patents: "Stop Biopiracy in Mexico!"
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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------
TITLE: "Stop Biopiracy in Mexico!"
SOURCE: RAFI, http://www.rafi.org
DATE: October 23, 2000
------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------
The following is a summary prepared for RAFI's listserve. Please visit
RAFI's web site to find the complete document.
"Stop Biopiracy in Mexico!"
Indigenous Peoples' Organizations from Chiapas Demand Immediate Moratorium
Mexican Government Says No to Bioprospecting Permits
Over one year ago, eleven indigenous peoples' organizations under the
umbrella of the Council of Traditional Indigenous Doctors and Midwives from
Chiapas (Consejo de Medicos y Parteras Indigenas Tradicionales de Chiapas)
demanded the suspension of the International Collaborative Biodiversity
Group-Maya (ICBG-Maya) - a US government-funded project aimed at the
bioprospecting of their medicinal plants and traditional knowledge. After
one year of fruitless talks with the ICBG-Maya and Mexican authorities, the
Council held a press conference on September 12, 2000 to again demand the
termination of the project.
The Council believes that indigenous people have been manipulated both by
the Mexican authorities and the ICBG-Maya project leaders - the University
of Georgia and ECOSUR in Chiapas. Along with the suspension of this
particular project, the Council is demanding an immediate moratorium on ALL
bioprospecting projects in Mexico. The moratorium should only be lifted
once the indigenous people and Mexican society have had the opportunity to
evaluate the impact of these projects, and once appropriate laws protecting
genetic resources and traditional knowledge are in place. The Council's
demands were supported by over 100 indigenous peoples', farmers' and other
civil society organizations attending the seminar "Bioprospecting or
Biopiracy?" held 14-15 September in Mexico City.
In late September the Council learned that the Mexican Government has
denied the ICBG-Maya permission to conduct bio-assays (that is, analysis of
active compounds) on plants collected in Chiapas. For RAFI, the clear
opposition of local indigenous groups to this project is ample reason for
the research team to withdraw from the state of Chiapas. Now that the
Mexican government has denied the ICBG permission to conduct bio-assays,
the ICBG has even more reason to terminate the project. When will ICBG go
After two years of intense local opposition, the ICBG Maya has failed to
win the confidence of local indigenous groups or regulatory approval from
the Mexican government. There is no consensus among the peoples of Chiapas
that the Project should proceed. The ICBG-Maya, including the University of
Georgia, ECOSUR and Molecular Nature should give immediate attention to an
exit strategy and termination of the Project.
* * *
For additional background information on the Chiapas "Bioprospecting" ICBG
Project, please see the following documents on RAFI's web site:
"Biopiracy Project in Chiapas, Mexico Denounced by Mayan Indigenous
Groups," 1 December 1999.
"Messages from the Chiapas 'Bioprospecting' Dispute," 22 December 1999.
"Biopiracy - RAFI's Sixth Annual Update," RAFI Communique, May/June, 2000.
For additional information contact:
Silvia Ribeiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Delahanty, email@example.com
Pat Mooney, firstname.lastname@example.org
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