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BioDWatch: The Campaign for Community Control over Biodiversity (www.kalpavriksh.org) being coordinated by the Kanchi Kohli, Kalpavriksh Delhi and Shalini Bhutani, an independent legal researcher has been operating this list serve to report updates on the Biodiversity Legislation in India.

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002, raised hopes of being a tool for effective conservation of biodiversity, regulation of industrial and commercial use of biological resources, and community control over their biological resources and related knowledge. But the Biodiversity Rules of 2004 diluted some of the progressive provisions of the Act totally reducing control of communities to mere function of documentation of resources and knowledge. Meanwhile the institutional structures that Biodiversity Act and Rules established (i.e. National Biodiversity Authority, State Biodiversity Boards and Biodiversity Management Committees) have or are being set up with an emphasis more on access and less on conservation. Other legislative measures like the PVP& FR Act, amendments to the Patent Act and now the Seed Bill, are opening the doors for the private companies to get intellectual property rights (IPR) over traditional knowledge and biological diversity which originally belong to or were being managed by local communities. These laws impinge on traditional lifestyles and customary practices of local communities, rewriting the rules of their access and sharing. The pace with which these legislations are getting approved and enforced warrants an equally regular monitoring. BioD Watch intends to keep track of these developments to facilitate pro-active and reactive steps. It is not an end in itself. It is a beginning for us to come together in common interest and collective thinking so that we can take the information to where it necessarily belongs. It needs to move away from the centralized coffers and implications need to be understood at the grassroots

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