Introduction to the Symposium on Plant Variety Protection and Traditional Knowledge in Africa

Research output: Other contribution


By 1 July 2021, all African World Trade Organisation (WTO) members are expected to have introduced plant variety protection systems as per the provisions of Article 27.3(b) of the Agreement Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Recognising the cultural, social, economic, financial, technical and administrative constraints of crafting and introducing new intellectual property systems at the national level, TRIPS provides a two-tiered transition period for developing and least-developed WTO members. 1 January 2000 for developed countries and 1 July 2021 for least developed countries (or whatever date a particular country ceases to be in the least developed category if that happens before 2021).

This symposium, comprising six contributions, presents case studies of the existing plant variety protection systems in Africa, complexities around introducing new systems as well as the interlinkages between plant variety protection, human rights and traditional knowledge. In the first contribution, an interview with a leading African intellectual property scholar, titled ‘In Conversation with Dr Susan Isiko Štrba’, Štrba shares her opinions on the current plant variety protection landscape in Africa. According to Štrba, the African Group’s conflation of different issues relating to plant varieties, such as access-benefit sharing and farmers rights from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) contributed to the impasse on the revision of Article 27.3(b) of TRIPS at the TRIPS Council.
Original languageEnglish
TypeOnline Symposium
Media of
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019


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