Article

Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 12, Issue 7, pp 1511-1524

Regulating access to genetic resources under the Convention on Biological Diversity: an analysis of selected case studies

  • Liliana M. DávalosAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia UniversityDivision of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History
  • , Robin R. SearsAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia UniversityThe New York Botanical Garden
  • , Gleb RaygorodetskyAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia UniversityWildlife Conservation Society
  • , Benjamin L. SimmonsAffiliated withColumbia University Law SchoolSchool of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • , Hugh CrossAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia UniversityThe New York Botanical Garden
  • , Taran GrantAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia UniversityDivision of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History
  • , Tonya BarnesAffiliated withSchool of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • , Louis PutzelAffiliated withSchool of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • , Ana Luz PorzecanskiAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia UniversityDivision of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History

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Abstract

In 1992 parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed to develop and implement policies to regulate and facilitate access to genetic resources (AGR). We examine regulations and agreements in Brazil, Colombia, and the Philippines in detail and discuss how these countries are implementing the AGR mandate. In particular, we evaluate progress toward achieving the CBD objectives of conserving biological diversity, using its components in a sustainable manner, and equitably sharing the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. We highlight the difficulties in developing and implementing these policies, arising from the conflicting goals of regulating and facilitating AGR, as well as the special character of genetic resources, existing ex situ collections, issues of ownership and tenure, and the dearth of legal, institutional, and scientific capacity in many countries. We recommend (1) independent, multidisciplinary evaluation of the success of the access policy in achieving CBD objectives, (2) resolution of the conflict between traditional land tenure and legal property rights of genetic resources so as to match conservation obligations with benefit-sharing rights, (3) recognition that benefits obtained from AGR may be entirely non-monetary, and (4) that countries provide a 'two-track’ AGR application process separately for commercial and non-commercial users.

Andean Pact Biodiversity Bioprospecting Brazil Colombia Convention on Biological Diversity Genetic resources International environmental law Legislation Philippines