Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Joji Carino -- Philippines
The ongoing International Indigenous
Peoples' Conference recommends for amendments to the United Nations
Charter to categorically disallow the patenting of life forms.
"It should clearly prohibit the patenting of micro-organisms, plants
animals including all their parts, whether they are genes, gene sequences,
cells cell lines, proteins, or seeds", Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the
Executive Director of the Tetebba Foundation said in her presentation on
the World trade Organization rules at the conference.
Victoria said the Indigenous Peoples have set forth to have article 27.3b
of the UN charter amended to prohibit the patenting of natural processes.
"Instead the article should ensure the exploration and development of
alternative forms of protection of alternative forms of protection outside
of the dominant western intellectual property rights regime" she said.
The head of the indigenous Philippines organization, took issue with the
multilateral agreements and conditions imposed by the Bretton Woods
institutions, the International Monetary Fund(IMF) and the World Bank.
The continued expansion of the trade related WTO agreements to include
agriculture and investment heightened poverty level in developing
countries, she said.
"Countries like the US and Canada subsidize their farmers, then export the
products to less developed nations, posing unfair competition to locally
manufactured goods" she argued.
Citing the examples of Corn farmers, in Mexico and Philippines and Dairy
farmers in Jamaica, Victoria illustrated the suffering peasant farmers and
more particularly the Indigenous Peoples have undergone at the expense of
subsidized and mechanized farmers from the rich nations.
An average of 50,000 corn farmers in the Philippines and 60,000 in Mexico
are believed to have lost their livelihood owing to the unfair competition
posed by products dumped into their markets by multinational
"The multilateral laws gives undue advantages to the transnational and
multinational corporations to suffocate the indigenous, the trend if let
to continue threatens to sweep the locals off the face of the earth"
Resource allocation and resource utilization must be based on market
prices, which should conform as closely as possible to international
prices, the paper recommended.