7-Misc: Reports on access to genetic resources
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-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------
TITLE: Reports on access to genetic resources
SOURCE: Biodiversity Action Network, by Stas Burgiel
DATE: June 7, 1999
----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------
Dear GENET-news reader,
the issue of access to genetic resources is of outstanding
importance in the current discussions under the Convention of
Biological Diversity. To understand the high interest of the U.S.
in this topic it has to be underlined that the U.S. has not
ratified the CBD while some 174 states did so until now - nearly
all countries of the world. While negotiating the CBD in Rio in
1992, it was ensured - the U.S. played a major role in these
debates - that the CBD member states have to grant access to
genetic resources to all countries. The CBD demand to share
benefits arising from the use of organisms and their genes (via
genetic engineering, patenting etc.) only applies to member
states. Thus, the CBD is constructed to give advantages to the
non-party - notably the U.S..
Meanwhile an increasing number of CBD members create national
access and benefit sharing legislation or have already
implemented it. The next Conference of the Parties to the CBD in
May 2000 will discuss the matter as one major topic. In this
situation, it is in the very interest of the U.S. and most of the
"life science" companies to become active and to weaken such
legislation. On the other hand, many CBD-members, especially from
developing countries, and supporting NGOs try to promote strong
access and benefit sharing regulation in compliance with the
demands of the CBD.
The Secretariat of the CBD provides several reports in pdf-format
on its home page at:
Following reports are available:
1 Case studies submitted by governments
India, Ministry of Environment and Forests
Benefit sharing model experimented by Tropical Botanic Garden
and Research Institute (TBGRI), a national centre of excellence
on tropical plant diversity.
République du Mali, Ministre du développement rural et de l¹eau
Programme test de gestion décentralisée de la pêche dans le
Delta Central du Niger au Mali.
II. Case studies submitted by international and non-governmental
Aalbersberg, William G.; Korovulavula, Iso; Parks, Johne E.;
The Role of a Fijian Community in a Bioprospecting Project
Sharing with the Kanis: A case study from Kerala, India.
Guerin-McManus, Marianne; Famolare, Lisa M.; Bowles, Ian A.,
Malone, Stanley A.J.; Mittermeier, Russel A.; and Rosenfeld, Amy
Bioprospecting in Practice: A Case Study of the Suriname ICBG
Project and Benefits Sharing under the Convention on Biological
Iwu, M and Sarah A. Laird.
The International Cooperative Biodiversity Group: Drug
Development and Biodiversity Conservation in Africa: Case Study
of A Benefit-Sharing Plan.
Laird, Sarah; Lisinge, Esterine.
-Ancistrocladus korupensis: A Species with Pharmaceutical
Potential from Cameroon.
-Sustainable Harvesting of Prunus africana on Mount Cameroon:
Benefit-Sharing between Plantecam Company and the Village of
-Conclusion: The Ancistrocladus korupensis and Prunus africana.
Case Studies from Cameroon:Contrasting Benefit-Sharing in the
Pharmaceutical and Phytomedical Industries.
Communal Tenure, Motivational Dynamics and Sustainable Wildlife
Management in Zimbabwe.
Mechanisms for benefit sharing: Nigerian Case Study for the
Convention on Biological Diversity.
Rosenthal, Joshua P
The International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG)
ten Kate, Kerry and Amanda Collis
The Genetic Resources Recognition Fund of the University of
ten Kate, Kerry, Laura Touche and Amanda Collis.
Yellowstone National Park and the Diversa Corporation Inc.
ten Kate, Kerry and Adrian Wells.
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
Vogel, Joseph Henry.
Case study no. 6: Bioprospecting: The Impossibility of a
Successful Case Without a Cartel.
Tânia Sampaio Pereira.
Botanic Garden's Collections and the CBD - Rio de Janeiro
Botanic Garden case study
Claudio Torres Nachon and Gaby Cant¦, Center for Environmental
Law and Economic Integgration of the South, DASSUR
Towards a law on the access and use of genetic resources in
-- FROM BIONET --
We are pleased to announce the availability of the report --
ACCESS TO GENETIC RESOURCES: An Evaluation of the Development and
Implementation of Recent Regulation and Access Agreements --
which has been prepared by the Environmental Policy Studies
Workshop of Columbia University's School of International and
Public Affairs. The report analyzes a number of recent agreements
and legislation regulating access to genetic resources and the
sharing of benefits derived therefrom.
The project examines the historical context of such legislation,
including the role of the Convention on Biological Diversity;
obstacles to creating consensual policies; possible evaluation
criteria for assessing access frameworks; and recommendations to
policy-makers, practitioners and advocacy organizations. Case
studies include access legislation and bioprospecting agreements
in the Andean Pact, Brazil, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Fiji, the
Philippines and the United States.
The report is very timely given upcoming discussions on access at
an intersessional meeting of the CBD later this month (Montreal;
21-23 June) and an expert panel under the CBD in October.
Attached is the report's Executive Summary. Full copies of the
report are available in PDF format from:
For copies of the report in other formats, please contact BIONET
directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biodiversity Action Network (BIONET)
1630 Connecticut Ave. NW, 3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20009 - USA
In signing the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the
governments of the world committed themselves to creating policy
and legislation to simultaneously regulate and facilitate access
to genetic resources (AGR) in the interest of three interrelated
goals: biodiversity conservation, sustainable economic
development, and socioeconomic equity. Progress in this
codification of genetic access policy varies substantially from
nation to nation, as a diverse field of "stakeholders"-including
resource owners, cultural groups and communities, corporations
and industrial coalitions, government hierarchies, environmental
advocates, and scientists-struggles to reach a point of
To achieve the goals of the CBD with regard to genetic resources,
policy makers must overcome four primary obstacles. First, they
must factor the special character of genetic resources into
access policy. Genetic resources are both tangible (physical) and
intangible (information), and they are distributed independently
of political boundaries. Second, genetic resources have been
used, modified, and stored in centers around the world for
centuries, and effective policy must accommodate these ex situ
collections. Third, before addressing the complexities of the
distribution of benefits, policy makers must clearly define
ownership and tenure of genetic resources. This is a difficult
task, because groups as varied as humankind, states, regions, and
locals have all claimed rights over genetic resources; the matter
is further complicated by the conflict between customary and
legal property rights. Fourth, the dearth of legal,
institutional, and scientific capacity in many countries
seriously hampers efforts to facilitate and regulate access to
genetic resources. Finally, the often conflicting interests of
large numbers of stakeholders must be reconciled if policy is to
In this report, we examine and critically evaluate the efficacy
of seven examples of AGR agreements in overcoming these obstacles
and achieving the three goals of the CBD. These cases were chosen
because they represent a broad array of policy responses
involving a variety of stakeholders, including private actors,
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research institutions, and
state representatives; because they represent different
geographic regions; and because adequate data were available for
analysis. Specifically, we examined
- The National Biodiversity Institute (INBio)-Merck & Co., Inc.
Research Agreement in Costa Rica
- The National Cancer Institute-Universidade Paulista agreement
and proposed legislation in Brazil
- The BioAndes attempt to bioprospect in Colombia under Decision
391 of the Andean Pact
- The African International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups'
research and development agreements in Cameroon
- Access agreements and legislation in the Philippines
- The Strathclyde Institute of Drug Research-University of the
South Pacific agreement in Fiji
- The Yellowstone National Park-Diversa Corporation agreement in
the United States.
Of each case we asked the following questions, which form the
basis of our analysis:
- How are stakeholders identified and represented?
- How are property rights addressed?
- How is prior informed consent ensured?
- How are benefits distributed?
- Do the terms of the agreement encourage compliance and are
there mechanisms in place to handle disputes?
- How are sustainable use and conservation addressed?
-| Hartmut Meyer
-| The European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
-| Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51
-| D - 37083 Goettingen
-| phone: #49-551-7700027
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