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systems could be viewed as investments rather than internationally imposed costs.

  • FAO, WHO and OIE could consider establishing a joint task force to examine what those agencies and their member governments might do to prepare their SPS surveillance and intervention systems to identify SPS risks and hazards that may result from anticipated effects of climate change on food and agriculture production and distribution.

7.4 Knowledge and Knowledge Management-Property Rights

The generation, dissemination and maintenance of AKST increasingly depend on property rights, placing AKST in private, community, and public domains. As opportunities to protect AKST increase, access to innovations, local knowledge and genetic resources become restricted through different regulatory systems. Public research may result in privately controlled knowledge, either as a result of institutional policies or of public-private partnerships. IPRs have multiple objectives, ranging from stimulating investments in R&D, facilitating technology transfer and bringing knowledge to the public domain through publication and setting time limits to any exclusive rights. However, the validity of these in a low income country (LIC) and development context of low technical capacity is contested. Nevertheless, public research institutions have to decide how to deal with these developments and how far to go in developing capacities to manage proprietary knowledge and materials (Egelyng, 2005).

     Opportunities to legally protect knowledge can be analyzed in terms of the likely impact on the generation of and access to such knowledge for development purposes. This analysis refers to both the strength of intellectual property rights in general and to the policies towards the use of the protection systems by public (research) organizations. IPRs fit in a paradigm of market-led development which is essentially different from both the concept of sharing ideas that characterize most farming communities (and which is essentially different from medicinal knowledge in many communities) and from the public goods paradigm which dominated the agricultural research for development policies for over 50 years. Strong intellectual property rights may support commercial investments in research, but may not be effective in stimulating research for non-market uses to serve the need of the poor.

      Changes in property rights systems impact the roles of the stakeholders in AKST. National policies, such as the Bayh-Dole Act in the USA, promoting "protection" of IP by public universities, led to new commercialization strategies for publicly developed AKST, including exclusive licensing of IP to companies in exchange for follow-up university research contracts and product commercialization. Reduced public expenditure on agricultural research in a number of countries, and the expansion of public-private partnerships in agricultural research also tend to stimulate the protection of knowledge by public research institutions in order to generate income (Louwaars et al., 2006). An analysis of the impact of the Bayh-Dole Act in the USA (Rosenberg and Nelson, 1994) indicates that, as a result of the high costs


of managing IP, very few schools make a net profit on their R&D investment.

      The design of systems of rights and the forms in which these are implemented are examples of interactions between various levels of organization ranging from international conventions and commitments to local forms of interpretation with or without the filter of national policy and legal systems. If different rights systems do not specify how results produced by AKST system are used, exploited and disseminated, those knowledge products and technologies may be unused by the intended AKST beneficiary. If the public sector is stimulated to use the rights to create a flow of revenue, public sector researchers are likely to change their programming away from the needs of the poor (World Bank, 2006).

7.4.1 Public research and the generation of public goods

The status and nature of AKST as "public/private good" is critical for its value in development.

      Anthropologists and sociologists (Fuller, 1993; Callon, 1994) hold that science is a public good. Innovation, a change in order to solve a constraining situation, is both a key for human development and a tool for competitiveness. The report of a Commission initiated by the British government to look at how IPR might work better for poor people and developing countries remains a most important analysis of this challenge (Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, 2002).

      Both the international priorities for the production of global public goods in global schemes (e.g., in the CGIAR), and national innovation programs can to be viewed in this changing perspective when they are to deal with multiple development objectives. The introduction of private, community and national rights creates a wide range of challenges for public research.

      Realization of environmental objectives are very appropriate areas of inquiry for publicly funded AKST: research towards fulfilling these objectives can frame natural resources as public goods requiring collective management, such as climate, air quality, water, landscapes. Knowledge can help private stakeholders, like farmers, forest owners, rural factories, to develop environmentally friendly practices even in those areas that are privately owned.

7.4.2 Multilateral negotiations on rights systems

Attempts to import concepts from one multilateral agreement to another to enhance their mutual compatibility have met with strong opposition.2 For example, the proposal to make the CBD's Prior Informed Consent in the use of traditional knowledge and genetic resources a substantive

2 How to protect and license the use of intellectual property (IP) and traditional knowledge (TK) continues to be fiercely debated in World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the WTO negotiations to amend the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs) and in various civil society forums. The implementation of national sovereignty over genetic resources and arrangements for Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) as debated within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) also link with the protection of IP and TK.