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About BIOTHAI


      Biodiversity Action Thailand or the former name Thai Network on Community Rights and Biodiversity emerged from the cooperation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), local community organizations, academics, and government officials who realise the importance of biodiversity and its close connections to the livelihood systems of local communities. BIOTHAI began its activities to provide information and raise the awareness of policy-makers and the public in Thai society since 1995.

      During 1996 to 1998 BIOTHAI held three annually national conferences on biodiversity issues in association with the Institute of Thai Traditional Medicine of the Thai government under the Ministry of Public Health, Institute of Natural Resources and Biodiversity under the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, and Chulalongkorn University.

      An international conference was also held on the position of the South in reviewing the intellectual property rights under Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) on sui generis legal systems in Thammasat University in 1997 with representatives of various Thai and international organizations from 18 countries in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe.

      During 1997 to 1998, BIOTHAI played an important role in campaigning for a local people's movement to protect biodiversity and local knowledge systems. BIOTHAI initiated the campaign to protect the traditional Thai rice variety Jasmine or Hom Mali.

      During 1997-1999, BIOTHAI was the leader of Thai civil society organizations in campaigning about the concerns and impacts on health and safety of genetically modified (GM) crops and food. Apart from providing information and raising public awareness, BIOTHAI has been involved in developing national laws relating to biodiversity through coordinating with the Ministries for Agriculture, Commerce and Public Health.

      Of special importance is the BIOTHAI role in drafting and pressuring the government to consider the Plant Varieties Protection Act and the Protection and Support of Thai Traditional Medicinal Act. Both these Acts are accepted and used as law at present.

      Recently, BIOTHAI became a committee member and assistant to the Secretary of the Committee to Draft Law on Biosafety that was established by the government on 25 April 2001.

      At present, BIOTHAI has been accepted as member of the national biodiversity policy namely; National Biosafety Committee and Plant Varieties Protection Board. Other than the work at the national policy-level, BIOTHAI has joined with Southeast Asian NGOs such as MASIPAG (Philippines), PAN-Indonesia, GRAIN-Southeast Asia and TWN, Malaysia involving various activities about biodiversity and biotechnology on various occasions. For example, the "Long March for Biodiversity" in Thailand and the publications titled Golden Rice, Bacterial Blast Rice and others publications related to biodiversity.


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