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THE HIDDEN HARVEST

GRAIN | 15 October 1995 | Seedling - October 1995

Until recently ignored by contemporary agricultural research, most of the world's rural population benefits from a "Hidden Harvest" of wild foods that constitutes an important nutritional and income source, and often makes the difference for survival in famine situations.

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The industrialisation of fishing puts ever-growing pressure on marine ecosystems and the diversity they contain, and small-scale fishing communities and the poor are paying the price. Civil society must gain democratic control over these resources.

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A Swiss herb growers group has won an important court case: in a landmark decision that tested new policies to allow patenting of plants as such, the Federal Supreme Court decided that a camomile variety may not be patented.

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DIVERSITY, A FEMININE NOUN

Angela Cordeiro | 15 July 1995 | Seedling - July 1995

The diversity of agricultural systems is a fundamental step in fighting rural hunger and conserving genetic resources, and farm women are key players in any such strategy, according to field studies in Brazil.

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EDITORIAL

GRAIN | 25 March 1995 | Seedling - March 1995

A viewpoint on the European Parliament's historic rejection of the life patenting directive last 1 March.

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The European Parliament stopped a law proposal that would have made life patenting possible in Europe. We look at the background, the history and the implications.

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BIODIVERSITY SELL-OUT IN THE ANDEAN PACT?

Germán Vélez and GRAIN | 15 March 1995 | Seedling - March 1995

Some Andean Pact countries seem to be willing to hand over their biodiversity cheaply. Others are arguing for more control over access. NGOs fight for rights to local and indigenous communities.

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The IARCs are in a financial and institutional crisis and a meeting was called to relaunch the system, with little success. NGOs call for a consultation process.

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In a world where free trade has become the official development buzzword, indigenous peoples are faced with enormous pressures to commercialise their traditional resources and knowledge, now that genetic resources have become the new building blocks of biotechnology. How can they gain control over the conservation and use of those resources in an legal environment essentially hostile to their cosmovision? Marcus Colchester, Director of the Forest Peoples Programme of the World Rainforest Movement, addresses some of these issues in the following article, prepared as a background paper for a brainstorming meeting on Community Rights and Biodiversity, hosted by GRAIN in Montezillon, Switzerland, 17-18 October 1994.

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THREATS FROM THE TEST TUBES

GRAIN/CEAT | 25 December 1994 | Seedling - December 1994

Whereas by now most industrialised countries have adopted regulations concerning the safe handling and use of genetically engineered organisms, most developing countries still lack any regulations in this field. This imbalance is already stimulating companies to test their biotechnology products in the South, rather than in the North. Faced with many examples of such testing, there is a clear need for a binding regulatory mechanism to rule the testing, release and trade of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This article draws from a position paper prepared for the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Convention on Biological Diversity by the CEAT (European Coordination Friends of the Earth) Clearinghouse on Biotechnology and GRAIN.

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