EU unveils measures to combat biopiracy

EU headquarters are pictured in Brussels in 2005. The European Union on Thursday set out proposals aimed at thwarting the illegal use of genetic resources and traditional medicine, a practice known as biopiracy.

The European Union on Thursday set out proposals aimed at thwarting the illegal use of genetic resources and traditional medicine, a practice known as bio-piracy.

A Europe-wide regulation would create "a level playing field for all users of genetic resources," the European Commission said in a press release that coincided with a UN conference on biodiversity in Hyderabad, India.

Developing countries, led by India, are complaining that pharmaceutical and cosmetic firms are using local species of in their research or exploiting for their own gain.

Confusion on how genetic treasures and knowledge should be shared led in 2010 to the Nagoya Protocol, which members of the UN (CBD) have pledged to pass into their national laws.

The draft EU regulation would require users to declare they have exercised "due diligence" in meeting the legal requirements in the country of origin and in showing that the benefits are "fairly and equitably shared," the commission said.

As part of the initiative, an EU database of "trusted collections" of seed banks and botanical gardens will be set up to inform users about the origins of .

The proposed measures will be put to the and the Council of Ministers, the 27-nation bloc's highest decision-making body.

More than a quarter of all approved drugs over the past 30 years are either natural products or have been derived from a natural product, the commission said.

The CBD meeting runs in Hyderabad until October 19, climaxing in a three-day meeting of environment ministers on a plan to roll back biodiversity decline by 2020.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU agrees crack down on shark finning

Mar 19, 2012

The European Union endorsed tighter shark fishing rules on Monday to ensure fishermen respect a ban on slicing off the fins of their catches and throwing the live body overboard to drown.

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

Apr 16, 2014

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

Italy scraps ban on donor-assisted reproduction

Apr 09, 2014

Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday struck down a Catholic Church-backed ban against assisted reproduction with sperm or egg donors that has forced thousands of sterile couples to seek help abroad.

User comments