Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

SouthViews No. 205, 31 August 2020

Digital Sequence Information (DSI) and national measures: approaches and perspectives

By Jorge Cabrera Medaglia

Digital sequence information (DSI, or genetic sequence data) is an emerging aspect of synthetic biology which involves certain functional genetic sequences being shared by different means. The genetic sequences from plants, animals or micro-organisms could be used to support conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, to develop and commercialize new products and processes, or for other purposes. The regulation of the use of DSI for both commercial and non-commercial entities may have huge implications for the access and benefit-sharing (ABS) regimen established in the international instruments, ongoing processes and regional and national legislation that implement these conventions. International guidance is needed to promote a coordinated approach to secure fair and equitable sharing of benefits while avoiding a negative impact on the non-commercial benefits arising from the genetic data.

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Policy Brief 78, May 2020

The 73rd World Health Assembly and Resolution on COVID-19: Quest of Global Solidarity for Equitable Access to Health Products

By Nirmalya Syam, Mirza Alas and Vitor Ido

The annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) held virtually on 18-19 May 2020 discussed the global response to COVID-19 and adopted Resolution WHA73.1 on “COVID-19 Response”. The Resolution reaffirms the role of WHO as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work and it recognizes that all countries should have timely and affordable access to diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines as well as to essential health technologies and equipment to respond to COVID-19. However, the Resolution does not define concrete actions to address the pandemic. Though the Resolution makes a commitment of ensuring access to medical products, vaccines and equipment for all countries in a timely manner, there are no concrete actions defined.  In order to ensure global equitable access, WHO Members should make full use of the flexibilities of the Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)  and also enhance transparency of costs of research and development (R&D), openness and sharing of data, tools and technologies, and build more capacity through technology transfer.

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Research Paper 104, March 2020

Antimicrobial Resistance: Examining the Environment as Part of the One Health Approach

By Mirza Alas

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a serious issue that is threatening the medical and agricultural advances of today. The connections that exist among human health, food production and the environment necessitate a One Health approach to address the challenge of AMR. Recent research points to the environment as an essential factor in the spread of AMR, as well as a possible reservoir of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and genes. The process, however, of the environmental transmission of resistance genes, along with their effects and how to mitigate them, is still being examined. As new research emerges, so to have new challenges regarding the selective pressure of antibiotics on the environment. AMR in the environment is not new, with resistance genes found even in isolated places (e.g. in permafrost or volcanoes) but understanding this natural process and its implications for tackling AMR continue to pose many questions. This paper aims to examine some of the emerging research on AMR from a One Health perspective and in particular to highlight the role of the environment. It will explore the use of antibiotics and their effects in different ecosystems, as well as the challenges they pose for developing countries: in particular, in designing policies to address antimicrobial resistance that take into account the connections among humans, animals and the environment.

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Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) – Agriculture and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Title:       Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) – Agriculture and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)        

Date:       20 June, 2019         

Venue:   International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG) 

Organizers:     Organized by the South Centre and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Ghana and Norway

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IP Negotiations Monitor 24, April 2018

The IP Negotiations Monitor summarizes the latest developments in multilateral and regional fora where intellectual property negotiations are taking place, and informs on upcoming meetings and events.

(Covering period: January – March 2018)

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Research Paper 75, March 2017

Implementing Farmers’ Rights Relating to Seeds

The concept of Farmers’ Rights recognized the role of farmers as custodians of biodiversity and helped to draw attention to the need to preserve practices that are essential for sustainable agriculture. This paper examines one particular aspect of such rights, perhaps the most controversial. It deals with the component of farmers’ rights referring to the use, exchange and sale of farm-saved seeds. Although that concept was initially introduced in 1989 with the aim of balancing the rights of farmers as breeders and of commercial plant breeders, a specific reference to the rights relating to seeds was only introduced upon the conclusion of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2001.

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SC-FAO MoU Signing, 11 November 2016

Title:              The South Centre-FAO Memorandum of Understanding Signing

Date:              11 November 2016

Venue:           Marrakech

Organizer:   The South Centre, FAO

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SC Side Event: Designing Sui Generis PVP System in Developing Countries and the Role of WIPO, 7 October 2016

Title:              Panel Discussion on “Designing Sui Generis Plant Variety Protection System in Developing

                         Countries and the Role of WIPO”

Date:              7 October 2016, 13:00-15:00

Venue:           WIPO New Building, Room 0.107

Organizer:   The South Centre, The Third World Network (TWN) and and the Association for Plant

                         Breeding for Benefit of Society (APBREBES)

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