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    Default India intensifies efforts to check biopiracy

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    Episodes like illegal patenting of Indian medicinal herbs like neem and haldi will not happen in future with the country signing agreements with patents and trademark offices of the US and other European countries for access to the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL).

    Around 2000 patents related to Indian System of Medicine were granted every year in the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) and other overseas Patent Offices, due to which India is insisting on early adoption of an international protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said.

    He was speaking after announcing the launch in the country of the UN International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) here.

    The Minister said that after agreement with foreign countries for access to TKDL, which is a computerised database of documented information available in Indian systems of medicines, it would be easy to identity the biopirated Indian discoveries and inventions.

    So far over two lakh formulations of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Yoga have been documented into the TKDL on 34 million pages of information, over a period of eight years at an estimated cost of Rs 7 crore.

    Mr Ramesh said India had intensified its efforts for the adoption of an international protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) at the tenth Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) scheduled to be held in Nagoya in Japan in October this year. This provides an opportunity to biodiversity-rich countries such as India to realise benefits for its people from the use of this biodiversity.

    He said India wants one single treaty for all countries to follow.

    The Minister also announced that the eleventh Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) would be held in October 2012 in New Delhi. This would mark the twentieth anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit at which CBD was adopted in Rio De Janeiro in 1992.

    This is the first comprehensive global agreement which addresses all aspects relating to biodiversity. The Convention, while reaffirming sovereign rights of nations over their biological resources, establishes three main goals--the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.

    The hosting of this COP shows not only India's role as a major mega-diverse country, but also its commitment to playing a global leadership role in biodiversity conservation, Mr Ramesh said.


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