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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Asebey E.J. 1996. Andes Pharmaceuticals Inc.: a new model for biodiversity prospecting. In: Feinsilver J. (ed.), Biodiversity, Biotechnology, and Sustainable Development in Health and Agriculture: Emerging Connections. Pan American Health Organization,World Health Organization, Washington, DC, pp. 47–76.
Balick J.M. and Cox P.A. 1996. People, Plants and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. Scientific American Library, New York.
Bryant D., Nielsen D. and Tangley L. 1997. The Last Frontier Forests Ecosystems and Economies on the Edge. WRI, WCMC, and WWF, Washington, DC.
Comisión del Acuerdo de Cartagena 1996. Decisión 391 del 2 de julio de 1996. Régimen común sobre acceso a los recursos genéticos. Imprenta Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia.
Convention on Biological Diversity 1992. Available online at: http://www.biodiv.org.
Convention on Biological Diversity 2002. List of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Available online at: http://www.biodiv.org/world/parties.asp.
Department of Agriculture, University of Utah, and Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines 1998. Commercial Research Agreement. Department of Agriculture, Manila, Philippines.
EPS Workshop 1999. Access to genetic resources: an evaluation of the development and implementation of recent regulation and access agreements. School of International and Public Affairs Columbia University Environmental Policy Studies Working Paper #4. Available online at: http: //www.columbia.edu/cu/sipa /FUNC/EPS/eps-rsch.html.
Flórez M. and Pimiento Chamorro S. 1998. Colombia, measures to control access and promote benefit sharing: a selection of case studies. In: Vallejo N. and Stone D. (eds), Measures to Control Access and Promote Benefit Sharing: A Selection of Case Studies. WWF, Gland, Switzerland, pp. 59–66.
Glowka L.T., Plan P. and Stoll P.T. 1998. Best Practices for Access to Genetic Resources. IBN, Regensburg, Germany.
Grajal A. 1999a. Biodiversity and the nation state: regulating access to genetic resources limits biodiversity research in developing countries. Conservation Biology 13: 1–6.
Grajal A. 1999b. Régimen de acceso a recursos genéticos impone limitaciones a la investigación en biodiversidad en los paises Andinos. Interciencia 24: 63–69.
Hardon J.J. 1989. Industrial patents, plant breeding and genetic resources: a plant breeder's view. Proceedings of an International Conference at the European Parliament on Patenting life forms in Europe, Brussels, 7–8 February 1989, ICDA, Barcelona, Spain., pp. 34–35.
Kothari A. 1997. Understanding Biodiversity. Orient Longman Ltd, New Delhi, India.
McNeely J.A., Miller K.R., Reid W.V., Mittermeier R.A. and Warner T.B. 1990. Conserving theWorld's Biological Diversity.World Conservation Union,World Resources Institute,World Wildlife Fund-US, and World Bank, Washington, DC.
Peria E. 2002. The way we were, as we are now: access and benefit-sharing in the Philippines. Available online at: http://www.ictsd.org/dlogue/2002–04–19/Peria.pdf.
Presidência da República 2001. Medida Provisória sobre Patrimôonio Genético, Conhecimientos Tradicionais Associados e Transferência de Tecnologia No. 2.186–16, de 23 de agosto de 2001. Available online at: http://www.mct.gov.br/legis/mp/mp2186–16.htm.
Presidential Office of the Philippines 1992. Republic Act No. 7586 (The National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, Philippines). An Act Providing for the Establishment and Management of National Integrated Protected Areas System, Defining its Scope and Coverage, and for Other Purposes. Presidential Office, Manila, Philippines.
Presidential Office of the Philippines 1995. Presidential Executive Order No. 247 Prescribing guidelines and establishing a regulatory framework for the prospecting of biological and genetic resources, their by-products and derivatives, for scientific and commercial purposes, and for other purposes. Presidential Office, Manila, Philippines.
Presidential Office of the Philippines 1997. Republic Act No. 8371 (The Indigenous People's Rights Act of 1997, Philippines). An Act to Recognize, Protect and Promote the rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples, Creating a National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Establishing Implementing Mechanisms, Appropriating Funds therefore, and for Other Purposes. Presidential Office, Manila, Philippines.
Rajaonarivony J.I.M. 1996. The Implementation of a Governmental Policy in Natural Products Research and Development in Madagascar. DCAAAS, Washington, DC.
Rausser G.C. and Small A. 2000.Valuing research leads: bioprospecting and the conservation of genetic resources. Journal of Political Economy 108: 173–206.
Robinson J. 1993. The limits to caring: sustainable living and the loss of biodiversity. Conservation Biology 7: 20–28.
São Paulo State Government Environmental Secretariat (s.d.). Environmental Documents: Biodiversity protection Programme – PROBIO/SP, Brazil. PROBIO/SP, São Paulo.
ten Kate K. 2002. Science and the convention on biological diversity. Science 295: 2371–2372.
ten Kate K. and Wells A. 1998. The Access and Benefit-Sharing Policies of the United States National Cancer Institute: A Comparative Account of the Discovery and Development of the Drugs Calanolide and Topotecan. Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, UK.
Yusuf A. 1994. Technology and genetic resources: is mutually beneficial access still possible? In: Sanchez V. and Juma C. (eds), Biodiplomacy: Genetic resources and international relations. African Centre for Technology Studies Press, Nairobi, Kenya, pp. 233–240.
About this article
Cite this article
Dávalos, L.M., Sears, R.R., Raygorodetsky, G. et al. Regulating access to genetic resources under the Convention on Biological Diversity: an analysis of selected case studies. Biodiversity and Conservation 12, 1511–1524 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023615303748
- Andean Pact
- Convention on Biological Diversity
- Genetic resources
- International environmental law