Jakarta, May 9th 2023
Mr. Valdis Dombrovkis Executive Vice-President European Commission
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200 1049 Brussels
Re: Drop any demand on UPOV and plant variety protection from Indonesia-EU CEPA
In 2022, more than 90 civil society organizations (CSO) from around the world demanded that the European Commission does not impose on Indonesia any request in the EU-Indonesia free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations to implement the 1991 Act of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991) or to impose any other requirements on Indonesia in relation to plant variety protection. Attached is the mentioned CSO letter.1
We the undersigned civil society from Indonesia are writing in advance of the next round of Indonesia- European Union Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to reiterate the abovementioned demand and to request the European Commission to drop all its proposals with respect to plant variety protection.
We stress that the required introduction of UPOV 91 will jeopardise famer managed seed system and thus food sovereignty, food security and agrobiodiversity in Indonesia.2 Multiple independent experts including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food have recognized UPOV 1991 to be an inappropriate legal framework for developing countries and have recommended that developing countries should not join or implement UPOV91.3 In particular “UPOV 91-based PVP laws were found to not advance the realisation of Farmers’ Rights; rather they are effective in the opposite direction”.4
EU’s demands erodes the policy space that Indonesia has under the TRIPS Agreement (Article 27.3(b)) to design a sui generis plant variety protection system that is relevant and appropriate to Indonesia’s agricultural system. It also undermines Indonesia’s ability to effectively implement various international instruments such as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, the United Nations Declaration on the right of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP) and the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People ( UNDRIP).
We thus urge the Commission to withdraw the demand for a UPOV 91 compliant plant variety protection law and to refrain from any request concerning plant variety protection rights in the FTA with Indonesia.
Indonesia for Global Justice
KRuHA (Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak Atas Air) The Institute of Ecosoc Rights
Sahita Institute (HINTS)
- Open Letter to the European Commission concerning plant variety rights in the Free Trade Agreement with Indonesia, see https://www.bothends.org/uploaded_files/document/220629_OpenLetter_EU-Indonesia_UPOV.pdf
- See “The reasons why Indonesia should not (be forced) to join UPOV” at https://www.bothends.org/uploaded_files/document/BriefingPaper_EN_The_reasons_why_Indonesia_should_n.pdf
- See UN General Assembly Document A/64/170 titled “Seed Policies and the right to food: enhancing agrobiodiversity and encouraging innovation”. https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/663241; UNDP (2008) “Towards a Balanced Sui Generis Plant Variety Regime”, available at www.undp.org/publications/toward-balanced-sui-generis-plant-variety-regime; Carlos M. Correa et al. (2015), “Plant Variety Protection in Developing Countries: A Tool for Designing a Sui Generis Plant Variety Protection System: An Alternative to UPOV 1991”, APBREBES, available at www.apbrebes.org/news/plant-variety- protection-developing-countries-tool-design-sui-generis-plant-variety-protection
- “The UPOV Convention, Farmers’ Rights and Human Rights– An integrated assessment of potentially conflicting legal frameworks” published by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development” (June 2015) available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280234837_The_UPOV_Convention_Farmers’_Rights_and_Human_Rights_An_I ntegrated_Assessment_of_Potentially_Conflicting_Legal_Frameworks