Legal biopiracy

Published: Thursday 15 January 2004

-- Critics have slammed Sri Lanka's proposed legislation to set up a National Institute on Biodiversity (nib), which would control the country's biological and carbon resources.

The nib would be empowered to sell usage rights over these resources without any public consultation, claim critics including the Environment Foundation Limited, a Columbo-based civil society group. Its chairperson, Rohan Wijesinghe, has warned the government's plans could lead to bio-piracy on research into genetic resources or other sensitive fields. Other observers, too, have pointed out that utilising biodiversity through nib lacks public participation in agreements entered into with foreign governments and institutions.

The bill has been drafted as a part of 'Regaining Sri Lanka' -- a set of economic proposals of the present government to revive the badgered national economy.

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