The production of medicines - pharmaceutical and herbal - involves the sourcing of both genetic resources in the natural environment, as well as local knowledge. Sourcing substances for medicines in the natural environment is known as biodiversity prospecting or 'bioprospecting.' To ensure that the benefits resulting from medicinal bioprospecting are brought to those ultimately bearing the costs of conservation and sustainable use, there must be a focus on indigenous peoples' rights, particularly property rights - whether this is applied to the actual land, to genetic material, to intellectual property, or to traditional medicinal knowledge. This study, which is an outcome of doctoral research at the European University Institute, considers the importance of access and benefit-sharing agreements as incentives for biodiversity protection. It analyzes the meaning of the objectives set by the Convention on Biological Diversity for its implementation. It also examines selected domestic access and benefit-sharing measures and industry practices, and it evaluates the discussions taking place in international fora regarding the Convention and its principles. Finally, the book makes recommendations on how to realize the objective of the Convention for 'fair and equitable' benefit-sharing, focusing on enhanced protection of indigenous peoples' rights.
Publication Date: 8/24/2009