14 Sep 2011

Venue: International Environment House 2

Organization: Geneva Environment Network


The Geneva Environment Network and the Quaker UN Office organized a roundtable discussion on intellectual property and biodiversity.

Panelists considered in particular whether, and how intellectual property rights can help preserve biological diversity, or whether IP protection might undermine such diversity. They will present to the audience some of the fora in which intellectual property and biodiversity issues are discussed and what likely directions of policy and thinking in this area is.


  • Ivonne Higuero (Programme Coordinator, UNEP Regional Office for Europe),
  • Professor Carlos Correa (Professor, University of Buenos Aires and Advisor on Trade and Intellectual Property, South Centre),
  • Isabel López Noriega (Legal Specialist, Bioversity International),
  • Wend Wendland (Director, Traditional Knowledge Division, World Intellectual Property Organization).
  • Moderator: Caroline Dommen (QUNO)

Meeting summary

The moderator raised the questions:

1. What is biodiversity?
2. Why is it important?
3. What is IP?
4. How can IPR protect biodiversity?

Some points raised:

  • IP goal is not protection of biodiversity.
  • Biodiversity needs innovation, access to farmers to (develop) plant varieties.
  • Traditional knowledge is important.
  • There is no evidence of negative effects of IP on biodiversity.
  • It needs public private partnerships to help financing the protection of biodiversity.
  • The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing is an important step. Use of genetic resources; Prior Informed Consent; Transfer of Technology so that the local people can also enjoy the benefits of genetic resources.
  • Reference was also made to the UNEP “Green Economy Report”, that believes to enhance the natural environment by economic investment.

Other details