Among other goals, the Convention on Biological Diversity addresses two controversies surrounding the international system of exchange of crop genetic resources (CGRs). One debate has been over the definition of property rights over CGRs and the distribution of benefits from their use. The second has been over the adequacy of incentives for conserving CGRs both in situ and ex situ. This paper examines how these two debates are linked and reviews previous multilateral attempts to resolve disputes over genetic resources. The scope for Convention provisions and proposed implementation strategies to resolve disputes and achieve stated goals are assessed. The Convention signals wider international acceptance of both intellectual property rights (IPRs) over biological inventions and the need for multilateral assistance for CGR preservation. There remains disagreement over how strict future IPRs should become, however, and current proposals to implement the Convention appear inadequate to achieve their stated objectives. Future controversies remain over four broad issues: (1) the breadth of IPR protection, including the future of research and farmer exemptions to patents, (2) control over operation of international seed banks, (3) the need for an international biosafety protocol regulating biotechnology testing and trade, and (4) how biodiversity conservation funds will be raised and allocated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Applied Psychology
- Management of Technology and Innovation