, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 199-218
Date: 01 Dec 2009

Do new Access and Benefit Sharing procedures under the Convention on Biological Diversity threaten the future of biological control?

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Abstract

Under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) countries have sovereign rights over their genetic resources. Agreements governing the access to these resources and the sharing of the benefits arising from their use need to be established between involved parties [i.e. Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)]. This also applies to species collected for potential use in biological control. Recent applications of CBD principles have already made it difficult or impossible to collect and export natural enemies for biological control research in several countries. If such an approach is widely applied it would impede this very successful and environmentally safe pest management method based on the use of biological diversity. The CBD is required to agree a comprehensive Access and Benefit Sharing process in 2010, in preparation for which the IOBC (International Organization for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants) Global Commission on Biological Control and Access and Benefit Sharing has prepared this position paper. Here, we first describe the practice of biological control in relation to the principles of ABS, illustrated extensively by case studies and successes obtained with biological control. Next, we emphasise the very limited monetary benefits generated in biological control when compared to other fields of ABS such as the collection of germplasm for development of human drugs, chemical pesticides or crop cultivars. Subsequently, we inform the biological control community of good ABS practice and challenges, and we hope to make clear to the community involved in ABS under the CBD the special situation with regard to biological control. Finally, based on the non-commercial academic research model, we make recommendations which would facilitate the practice of collection and exchange of biological control agents, propose a workable framework to assist policy makers and biological control practitioners, and urge biological control leaders in each country to get involved in the discussions with their national ABS contact point to take their needs into consideration.

Handling Editor: Eric Wajnberg.