International rules and regulations according to the Convention of Biological Diversity: Impacts upon access and use of plant genetic resources

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2023-05
Authors
Green, Jennifer
Major Professor
Mahama, Anthony
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Lubberstedt, Thomas
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Abstract
Genetic diversity is critical for species to adapt to the challenges of our future, such as changing climatic conditions, growing environments, and novel diseases. In agriculture, plant genetic resources provide a source of materials that can potentially be used by plant breeders to develop new cultivars with improved performance characteristics, and which thereby support sustainable agriculture and global food security. International policies have reshaped way we view, access, and use genetic resources. Prior to the conception of these international agreements, plant genetic resources were viewed as the “common heritage of mankind”: a type of public resource that belong to everybody. The Convention on Biological Diversity asserts the principle that nations have sovereign rights over natural resources within their boundaries and introduces the concept of Access and Benefits Sharing. The Convention was created on the concept of bilateral agreements, which places great responsibilities on signatory parties to determine detailed legal and regulatory mechanisms to practically interpret and enforce the Convention. Conversely, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, an international agreement that applies to a subset of food crops, relies on a Multilateral System of access and benefit-sharing, and defines a pool of shared genetic resources which Parties can access through a Standardized Material Transfer Agreement. This literature review considers current approaches to access and benefits-sharing, with a specific focus on the Nagoya Protocol, a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which provides signatory parties a framework for implementing access and benefits-sharing.
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2022