The specific responsibility of Switzerland

Because of the importance of its pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and agro-food industries, Switzerland plays an important role in the use of genetic resources. Specifically, it hosts: Syngenta – third-largest world seed producer; the pharma giants Novartis and Roche; Firmenich and Givaudan, – leaders in the fragrances and flavours sector; and Nestlé, world number one in the agro-food industry. It also hosts a number of research institutes.

Switzerland has ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and played an important part in their negotiations. It has also signed and ratified the Nagoya Protocol on access and sharing of rewards, and in December 2015 adopted a statute for its application at a national level (Nagoya Ordonnance).

Consequently, Switzerland has a particular responsibility in the fight against biopiracy and the implementation of efficient methods to stamp it out.

Our action against biopiracy

Public Eye has revealed several flagrant cases of biopiracy, the most recent of them concerning the hidden aspects of the rise in sweeteners derived from stevia. We act at both national and international level in favour of the effective and coherent implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and propose concrete solutions to fill the gaps in the existing instruments for fighting against biopiracy. Public Eye is also active in an international coalition of NGOs against the patenting of living organisms.