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20 September 2014 Add Comments

Geographical Indications, Biodiversity and Poor Communities: The opportunity for geographical indications to provide protection for traditional indigenous biodiversity products and benefits to poor agricultural communities.

Developed countries are rich in biodiversity, and a number of attractive native products are traditionally derived from domesticated and wild plants and animals. In some cases such products have shown potential on domestic and export markets, but incipient quality reputations are at risk from disloyal competition, poor quality management and insufficient understanding how genetic, location-specific and management factors influence product quality.

Geographic Indications (GI) are a tool to overcome some of the limitations faced by traditional products on markets. In particular they can provide protection of native products against the illegitimate use of product labels, and their implementation could bring about considerable benefits for poor agricultural communities.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Crops for the Future (CFF) are committed to assisting Less Developed Countries (LDC) to (i) Identify candidate products for GI protection, (ii) Assess the challenges communities and value chains face in setting up GI quality management systems (iii) Explore legal implications of GI registration that underpin the improvement of national regulatory frameworks on Geographic Indications (GIs).

Read or download the report by clicking here

Marie-Vivien, D. and Chabrol, D. 2014. Geographical Indications, Biodiversity and Poor Communities: The opportunity of geographical indications to provide protection of traditional indigenous biodiversity products and benefits to poor agricultural communities. A Desk Study on six target countries: Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Mauritania, commissioned by UNCTAD and CFF. July 2014, 80 p.


The report is a follow-up on a global GI study undertaken by GFU in 2007 (Larson 2007, Relevance of geographical indications and designations of origin for the sustainable use of genetic resources.)

15 May 2011 1 Comment

The latest of the very useful newsletters from , of which Crops for the Future is a member, provided a link to this report on “The protection of Geographical Indications (GI): Generating Empirical Evidence at Country and Product Level to Support African ACP Country Engagement in the Doha Round Negotiations”.

The report describes the legal infrastructure, motivating factors and trade/IPR environment deemed conducive to successful GI use in several Sub-Saharan countries, as well as costs and benefits. It notes that “in the absence of international agreements providing for the protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, [……..] GIs can provide a legal structure to affirm and protect the unique cultural values embodied in traditional artisanal and agricultural skills that are valued forms of expression for a particular community”.

Aside from the usual candidate products for GI protection such as coffee, cocoa, tea, raw sugar and honey, which account for most of the report, there is also mention of a number of less well-known products with potential for GI protection: yams in Nigeria (presumably Dioscorea spec.), a sea shell providing the “Yett” condiment (Senegal), Argane oil (Morocco), Shea butter, tree bark cloth, etc. While focusing on the economics and markets for GIs, the report also deals with sustainable exploitation of the biological resources used for GI products.

Starting on p. 51, the report lists a number of limitations and difficulties associated with GIs. It notes that a GI protection will not be able “to radically change the situation and solve all problems faced by the farmers or producers concerned. Putting too much expectation on the GI protection only and neglecting other key aspects or strategies could even constitute a risk to the development of a given branch of activity or region. […] It should be underlined in particular that, in the absence of democratic governance structures, the value added brought about by a GI may not be capitalised by regional interests or small farmers”. We believe such caveats should not be misunderstood as a vote against GIs, but rather as a very balanced discussion of an under-utilised instrument of rural development. As other tools, methods and activities, GIs may entail trade-offs rather than the elusive “win-win” situation.


11 November 2009 Add Comments

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and SinerGI (network for Strengthening International Research on Geographical Indications) are pleased to announce the above publication.

The aim of this guide is to provide local stakeholders with a conceptual framework, concrete illustrationsand methodologies for the promotion and preservation of quality products linked to geographical origin and implementation of GIs.

Download the English version of the guide from the www.foodquality-origin.org

French and Spanish versions soon available….