Business News of Tue, 18 Aug 20152

African gov’t asked to deepen controls in mining

The African Biodiversity Network, a Coalition of African Civil Society Groups, has asked African governments to strictly control mining and extraction on the continent as it kicks against mining activities in sacred natural sites and territories.

“Each country is responsible for protecting the integrity of its life support systems as a national priority.

“It is important to recognise the sacred natural sites and territories and the custodial governance systems, which have protected them for millennia, as the last remaining sustainable bio-cultural systems on our continent,” said Mr. Daniel Banuoku, Northern Regional Director, Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD), at a press conference in Accra.

Mr. Banuoke said in the face of the continent’s massive ecological and climate crisis, there is a need to acknowledge and learn from the indigenous communities - especially the elderly ones that are ecologically literate -- how to rebuild resilience.

He said there is a need to strengthen the diverse, ecologically-adapted African food systems, which have generated an enormous diversity of crops on the continent; and he called for support for the growing food sovereignty movement in its commitment to revive Africa’s traditional diversity of food, and build resilience back into the food systems.

Mr. Banuoke urged academia, religious and civil society leaders, and social movements to join forces in a campaign to build on the unique African strengths and heritage, and to stop the continent from being a dumping ground for foreign systems and products.

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“We are the last generation that has the possibility to revive, enhance and protect our severely threatened knowledge systems and our territories…it is our responsibility to speak on behalf of the future generations,” he said.

Mr. Bernard Guri, Chairman for Alliance for food Sovereignty in Africa, said the Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New varieties of Plants (Arusha PVP Protocol) proposed extremely strong intellectual property rights for breeders, while restricting the age-old practices of African farmers to save, use, share and sell seeds and/or propagate material.

He said those practices are the backbone of agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa as they have ensured the production and maintenance of a diverse pool of genetic resources created by farmers themselves, and have safeguarded food and nutrition for tens of millions of Africans in the ARIPO region.

He called on Ghana's Parliament not to ratify the Arusha Protocol to ensure food security and sovereignty for the country.

A Diplomatic Conference held under the auspices of ARIPO on July 6, 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania adopted a harmonised regional framework for the protection of patent breeders’ rights.

Source: B&FT

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