Published: Monday 31 January 2000

Advocates of the Convention on Biological Diversity have urged the Thai government to speed up its ratification after a delay of almost a year. They say the government's stalling may lead to stealing or wasting of bio-resources.

However, some, like Athit Kutin, dean of forestry at the Kasetsart University say that Thailand's views on conservation and benefit-sharing were largely ignored by member countries. Banpot na Pomphet, also of Kaetsart, said: "Many times they even look down on us. "Thailand has acknowledged the convention since the early 1990s but is yet to ratify on the grounds the convention has loopholes that would benefit developed countries the most. The worry is echoed by many other countries rich in bio-resources- but countries poor in economic terms, particularly in Latin America.

Environmentalists and lawyers say that technology transfer and benefit-sharing with resource owners, as promised by developing countries, will work only between government agencies, not private firms. Proponents are mostly academics who foresee the benefits of technology transfer, research funding and protection of species through registration.

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