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Switzerland to join former Commonwealth group

Switzerland is about to become a fully-fledged member of CAB International, a London-based organisation working in the fields of forestry, agriculture, health and natural resource management in both the developed and developing world.

The Senate on Thursday backed a motion already approved in the House of Representatives to join the body.

Dr Dieter Schröder, the director of the CAB International research centre in Delémont in canton Jura, says full membership will simply recognise what has been a fact for more than 50 years.

The bioscience research centre in Delémont has been involved in CAB activities since 1948 but in an associate capacity only.

That is because at the time what was then known as the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux was essentially a closed shop open only to Britain, the former dominions and the colonies.

But that changed in 1988, says Schröder, when CAB changed its status and opened its doors to other countries. Switzerland was the first non-Commonwealth country invited to join the body.

"In fact full membership will not make a major difference," he said. "It will simply formalise the relationship between Switzerland and CAB International...and give us certain privileges."

by Paul Sufrin

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