India’s Upper Chamber Passes Biodiversity Bill

20 December 2002

After two years since its introduction, the Indian Biological Diversity Bill 2000 was finally passed by the Upper Chamber of the Indian Parliament. The Bill, which constitutes the first such legislation in any of the 12 megadiverse countries, aims to prevent biopiracy and protect biodiversity and local farmers by regulating access to plant and animal genetic resources and the sharing of benefits derived from their use. The legislation sets up a National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) whose approval will be required when applying for intellectual property rights outside the country on an invention based on a biological resource from India or on its traditional knowledge. When granting its approval, the NBA can impose benefit sharing conditions. These could include fees or royalties, joint ownership, transfer of technology or a venture capital fund for benefit claimers, or the payment of monetary or other compensation. The Bill still has to be passed by the Lower Chamber.

Several environmental groups have voiced their discontent with the legislation. Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign described it as a "confused effort to put in elements which have been part of the debate. There are many elements, which are at odds with each other and with existing legislation". Vandana Shiva of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology noted that the Bill meant that "the Indian governments is legalising biopiracy", referring to a clause which would waive the rules restricting access for collaborative research projects provided the Federal government approved the projects.

"Rajya Sabha okays biodiversity bill," TIMES NEWS NETWORK, 12 December 2002; "Indian greens flay bill for plant protection," ONE WORLD SOUTH ASIA, 9 December 2002.

20 December 2002
The indigenous biodiversity of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is increasingly under threat from alien invasive species, a recent report by the Southern Africa Biodiversity Support...
Share: 
23 January 2003
MALAWI SETS ON ECOTOURISM In the hope of capitalising on its natural endowments and enhance the country's tourist drawing powers, Malawi -- a country battling with widespread starvation -- has...
Share: