Livestock Diversity: Keepers’ Rights, Shared Benefits and Pro-Poor Policies:
Documentation of a Workshop with NGOs, Herders, Scientists, and FAO




With technological development, especially gene technology, not only breeds, but also genes became the material of interest. The first few cases have become known, where genes from Southern breeds with interesting traits have been “found”. “Found” is put in parentheses, as scientists have discovered what has been selected and developed by pastoralists and livestock keepers over several millennia. The question arises, should it be allowed to monopolie the genes and the associated knowledge?

Several international conventions are in place, and national laws are being adjusted almost everywhere to regulate monopolization of genetic material. Livestock genetic diversity as compared to crop genetic diversity has received very little attention by policy makers or even the civil society’s advocacy organisations. When in November 2001, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted by the 185 member governments of FAO, the minds became freeer to start thinking of livestock. This civil society workshop is probably the first to take up this issue.

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