June 01, 2007
Center for International Environmental Law
Center for International Environmental Law, Geneva, Switzerland
Thanks to PILP, this summer I had the opportunity to work for the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) in Geneva, Switzerland. CIEL is a non profit organization which works to “solve environmental problems and promote sustainable societies through the use of law, to incorporate fundamental principles of ecology and justice into international law, to strengthen national environmental law systems and support public interest movements around the world, and to educate and train public-interest-minded environmental lawyers.”*
I worked in CIEL’s Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development Project, primarily on issues regarding Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing (ABS). As part of my work, I reviewed and analyzed the legislation of different countries regarding genetic resources and traditional knowledge, conducted research on certificate of origin/source/ legal provenance, and prepared a piece on the scope of disclosure of origin (DoO) aimed to facilitate discussion in said matter at the next Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Said piece also addressed DoO as a patentability requirement under the TRIPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and in regard with the treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Also as a part of my job, I attended the meeting for the Provisional Committee for the Development Agenda, and the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore at WIPO. Additionally, I attended meetings at the WTO and the United Nations on reforms of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, and free trade, water and biofuels respectively.
Being involved with CIEL was a priceless opportunity to me, given that it enabled me to be part of the fundamental work they do, and to have a deeper involvement in public interest international law. Working for CIEL and having lived in Geneva allowed me to have a better understanding about the way that corporate interest drives policy-making, and how some organizations work to make sure that public interest concerns are properly addressed and considered into policy, as they should be.
* See: http://www.ciel. org/reciel.html