The Brazilian Ambassador for the UK has a letter in the Independent this morning praising the paper for including an article on African bio-resources exploited by the West:
"The silent disease of biopiracy
Sir: I congratulate Andrew Buncombe for the article "African bio-resources 'exploited by West' " (17 February). It greatly contributes to raise public awareness on the deleterious effects of biopiracy, a serious environmental offence that affects every biodiversity-rich country in the world.
Biopiracy is like a silent disease: it is hardly detectable, it frequently does not leave traces and is an elusive activity perpetrated and oft abetted by many well-known multinational companies. Unfortunately, it does not attract the same media coverage or public outcry as other environmental problems, such as deforestation and pollutant emissions.
In accordance with the Convention of Biological Diversity, benefits generated by the commercial utilisation of genetic resources should be shared with the countries of origin of those resources. But those who passionately defend the environment often forget that this silent pillage is effectively robbing developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia of the means to finance important sustainable development projects, and is also a powerful disincentive for their biodiversity conservation efforts.
Brazil will host the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention (Curitiba, March 20-31) and has strongly defended the adoption of an international regime to ensure benefit-sharing arrangements under the Convention, which we believe is an important step for eliminating the scourge of biopiracy.
JOSÉ MAURICIO BUSTANI
AMBASSADOR OF BRAZIL LONDON W1"