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Asunto:[LEA-Venezuela] Cancun Declaration of Megadiverse Countries I
Fecha:Viernes, 22 de Febrero, 2002  19:26:10 (-0400)
Autor:Amigos en Defensa de la Gran Sabana.AMIGRANSA/ Orinoco Oilwatch <amigrans>

Preston Hardison <prestonh@...> 
[This came without any background on the meeting from which this 
originates, and Ididn't come up with much on an Internet search. If  anyone 
on the list has any 
information on the "Like Minded Megadiverse Countries" coalition, or this 
meeting,please let us all know] 
The Environment Ministers and representatives of Brazil, China, Costa Rica, 
Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and 
Venezuela, meeting in Cancun, Mexico, on 18 February: 
Reaffirming that states have sovereign rights over their own biological 
resources, as stipulated in the Convention on Biological Diversity and our 
commitment to fulfill its objectives, especially articles 8(j), 15, 16 and 
Highlighting the need to guide our actions on the basis of a new ethic in 
which prevail equitable relations between countries, between men and women, 
and responsible attitudes that guarantee the conservation and sustainable 
use of biological diversity taking into account the precautionary principle; 
Recognizing our important natural heritage, which represents about 70% of 
the planet's biological diversity, associated with our cultural richness and 
diversity, and which should be preserved and used in a sustainable manner; 
Emphasizing that resources from biological diversity, as well as the 
environmental services that depend on it, have an enormous strategic, 
economic, and social value, and offer opportunities for development for our 
peoples and for the international community; 
Recognizing the urgent need to develop human resources, institutional 
capacity, an appropriate legal framework and public policies that allow our 
countries to participate actively in the new economy associated with the use 
of biological diversity, genetic resources and biotechnology; 
Underscoring the importance of traditional knowledge of indigenous and local 
communities for the conservation of biological diversity, the development of 
knowledge and the sustainable use of its components; 
Expressing our concern regarding the limitations of the various 
international instruments to protect effectively the legitimate interests of 
countries of origin of biodiversity; 
Reaffirming our desire to participate actively in discussions of matters 
related to biological diversity in the World Trade Organization and the 
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as well as other regional 
and international fora; and 
Recognizing that megadiverse countries, especially in tropical and 
subtropical zones, possess diverse and very fragile ecosystems, which make 
us vulnerable and subject to great impacts on our biodiversity. 
Have decided: 
1. To establish the "Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries" as a 
mechanism for consultation and cooperation to promote our interests and 
priorities with regard to conservation and the sustainable use of biological 
diversity, with the following objectives: 
(a) To present common positions in international fora related to biological 
(b) To promote the in situ and ex situ conservation of biological diversity 
in countries of origin, and the development of joint research projects and 
to carry out inventories of their resources, as well as to invest in the 
development and application of endogenous technologies in support of 
conservation and of sustainable economic activities at the local level; 
(c) To endeavor that the goods, services and benefits that come from the 
conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity serve to support 
the development of our people in order, inter alia, to attain food security, 
overcome the health problems that affect us, and preserve our cultural 
(d) To explore jointly ways to interchange information and harmonize our 
respective national laws for the protection of biological diversity, 
including associated knowledge, as well as for access to genetic resources 
and the distribution of benefits derived from its use; 
(e) To establish regulatory frameworks that generate incentives for the 
conservation and sustainable use of biological resources, taking into 
account existing subregional efforts and initiatives; 
(f) To generate greater scientific, technical and biotechnological 
cooperation, including the interchange of experts, the training of human 
resources, and the development of institutional capacity for research that 
serves to increase the value of goods and services derived from biological 
diversity and the development of biotechnology, with the proper assessment 
of risks and the precautionary principal in cases when it is required; 
(g) To create biological diversity information system that includes research 
centers, national experiences, agreements and projects in progress, as well 
as sources of funding for projects and other information relevant to the 
aims of cooperation established here, as a key element to create 
opportunities and strategic alliances; 
(h) To drive the development of an international regime that promotes and 
effectively safeguards the just and equitable distribution of benefits from 
the use of biological diversity and its components. This regime should 
consider, inter alia, the following elements: the certification of the legal 
provenance of biological material, prior informed consent and mutually 
agreed terms for the transfer of genetic material as prerequisites for the 
application and issuance of patents, in strict adherence to the conditions 
of access granted by the countries of origin of this material. 
(i) To develop strategic projects and bilateral, regional and international 
agreements in the framework of enhanced South-South cooperation, for the 
conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources; 
(j) To explore the feasibility and viability of creating a voluntary fund 
of megadiverse countries, financial institutions and international agencies, 
foundations and private initiative to give greater scope to cooperative 
projects that derive from what has been agreed for the common benefit, 
equally, we must identify, as a group, our own and multilateral sources of 
funding to initiate joint projects, as a priority we note those related to 
information interchange and scientific cooperation, among others. 
(k) To drive actions with other countries, private initiative and 
interested groups with the aim, in a spirit of cooperation and mutual 
benefits, of showing their responsibility in the appropriate management of 
the natural capital of megadiverse countries and contribute in a practical 
manner to the objectives of conservation, sustainable use, and sharing of 
benefits contained in the Rio Principles and the CBD; 
(l) To strengthen the development of traditional knowledge through the 
establishment of public policies and financing for indigenous and local 
communities, so that they can convert their innovations into viable 
commercial projects, as long as they consider it appropriate, with direct 
benefits for them, making use where possible of elements of intellectual 
property such as trademarks and labels of origin; 
(m) To promote the development of a sui generis regime to protect 
traditional knowledge, based on clear instruments and mechanisms; 
(n) To promote that current intellectual property systems take into account 
traditional knowledge associated with biodiversity in the evaluation of 
applications for patents and related rights; 
(o) To combat jointly the improper or illegitimate appropriation of genetic 
resources through the interchange of information on the negative behavior of 
academic or private institutions and the development of mechanisms to 
control the fate of genetic resources from countries of origin. 
2. We exhort countries that still are not parties to the CBD, the Cartagena 
Protocol on Biosafety and the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change [to adhere]. 
3. We have agreed to meet periodically, both at the ministerial and expert 
levels, and have decided that at each ministerial meeting the host country 
will assume the role of secretary of the group, assure its continuity, the 
development of cooperation among our countries, and the achievement of the 
objectives set forth here. 
4. Finally, we express our appreciation and thanks to the people and 
government of Mexico for having brought together this first meeting and for 
the facilities extended for its realization and success. 
China, Brazil, India, 9 other nations form alliance against biopiracy 
By Mark Stevenson, Associated Press 
Tuesday, February 19, 2002 
MEXICO CITY - China, Brazil, India, and nine other of the world's most 
biodiverse countries signed an alliance Monday to fight biopiracy and press 
for rules protecting their people's rights to genetic resources found on 
their land. 
The declaration - also signed by representatives of Indonesia, Costa Rica, 
Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya, Peru, Venezuela, and South Africa - echoed 
complaints long voiced by Indians and environmentalists: that wealthy 
nations are "prospecting" for species in order to patent or sell them 
without offering concessions or benefits for local people. 
"Up to now, our nations have not benefited from this great wealth because 
there hasn't been an equal sharing between the nations involved nor with the 
rural and Indian groups that use and protect biodiversity," said Mexican 
Environment Secretary Victor Lichtinger. 
Together, the 12 nations in the alliance, which contain 70 percent of the 
world's biodiversity, said they would press for more equal trade rules on 
patenting and registering products based on plant and animal resources. 
Formed in the resort city of Cancun and formally known as the Group of 
Allied Mega-Biodiverse Nations, the alliance pledged to press its cause at 
this summer's U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in 
Johannesburg, South Africa, in August. 
Corporations that make medicines from naturally occurring plant derivatives 
or secure patents on genetic modifications of those species have raised 
fears that the people who first showed scientists where to find those plants 
could lose the right to use them or any profits from their use. 
For example, farmers in Mexico, where corn originated 4,000 years ago, were 
disturbed to find their plants had been accidentally contaminated by 
genetically modified corn. They were even more outraged to hear that U.S. 
companies might want to charge them for use of those strains. 
While intellectual property rights and protection for biodiverse areas are 
at the heart of the alliance, Mexico's Environment Secretary said it had no 
immediate information on what mechanism the group proposes regarding patents 
and compensation. 
"The new rules should include, among other things, certifying the legal 
possession of biological material and informed consent and mutually 
agreeable terms for transferring it," the countries' joint statement said. 
Both supporters and detractors of bioprospecting say the 1992 U.N. 
Convention on Biological Diversity, an international treaty designed to 
protect host countries and Indian communities, is riddled with loopholes and 
has been poorly implemented. The United States never ratified the 
"We neither have the internal mechanisms nor the international accords 
needed to guarantee an equitable use of genetic resources," Lichtinger told 
the founding meeting. 
Biodiversity is a measure of plant and animal species found only in limited 
ranges. A mega-biodiverse country is one that contains a wide range of 
ecosystems or many species found only there. 
Copyright ę 2001 Environmental News Network Inc. 
AMIGRANSA. Sociedad de Amigos en Defensa de la Gran Sabana 
Direccion: Apartado Postal 50460.Caracas 1050-A. Venezuela 
Tel y Fax  +58 (212) 992 1884 / Tel +58 (212) 693 9480 
e-mail:    AmiGranSa <amigrans@...> 
La Sociedad de Amigos en defensa de la Gran Sabana es 
una asociacion civil sin fines de lucro,constituida en abril 
de 1986 para la preservacion, conservacion y defensa del 
patrimonio ecologico -cultural de la Gran Sabana, Parque Nacional Canaima 
(Tierra de Tepuis), la Cuenca del rio Caroni y de todas aquellas areas 
pertenecientes al Macizo Guayanes. De igual manera unimos nuestros 
esfuerzos para que se respeten  los derechos de los Pueblos Indigenas que 
habitan estos territorios ancestrales y apoyamos la defensa que estos hacen 
para preservarlos 
junto a su cultura milenaria. 
Nos hemos sumado a esta causa por un profundo amor a la 
naturaleza y porque estamos convencidos que el repeto al mundo 
natural y a las leyes ecologicas, son una de las vias primordiales 
hacia el bienestar y la supervivencia de la humanidad. 
AMIGRANSA la integran un grupo de profesionales de 
distintas disciplinas,jovenes, estudiantes y una amplia red de 
colaboradores formada por habitantes de la Gran Sabana, cientificos y 
otros amantes de la naturaleza. El trabajo en AMIGRANSA esta basado en 
el voluntariado. 
Coordinacion y secretaria: AMIGRANSA 
e-mail: ORINOCO-OILWATCH <amigrans@...>,&lN;AMIGRANSA_OILWATCH@...> 
En el mes de agosto de 1996,la organizaci█n ambientalista 
AMIGRANSA- Sociedad de Amigos en defensa de la Gran 
Sabana, promueve  la creaci█n  en Venezuela de la 
RED ALERTA PETROLERA (Orinoco-Oilwatch),filial venezolana de 
OILWATCH, organizaci█n internacional de resistencia 
a la actividad petrolera en los tr█picos y vigilancia de los impactos 
ambientales y sociales de dicha actividad, nacida en Quito, Ecuador, donde 
se encuentra la Secretaria Internacional de Oilwatch 
considerado prioritario por su urgencia y su gravedad, 
solicitar una MORATORIA a la activid petrolera en areas de alta fragilidad 
ambiental y social; realizar el estudio de la problemĚtica de la zona Delta 
del Orinoco/ Golfo de Paria en el extremo oriente del pa╠s, en la 
desembocadura del R╠o Orinoco, habitat de la ╚tnia ind╠gena Warao; las 
secuelas de la 
explotaci█n de petr█leo, carb█n y gas en el Edo. Zulia, el resultado de las 
'asociaciones estrat╚gicas' en la faja petrol╠fera del Orinoco y la 
deuda ecol█gica. 
Sus voceros forman parte de grupos ecologistas, de pueblos indigenas, 
instituciones academicas y de investigacion, grupos defensores de los 
derechos humanos, grupos de pescadores y de otras poblaciones locales 
afectadas por los impactos de mega-proyectos petroleros,gasiferos y 
petroquimicos . 
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