1st Edition

Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons Challenges in International Law and Governance

    424 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    418 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Farmers have engaged in collective systems of conservation and innovation – improving crops and sharing their reproductive materials – since the earliest plant domestications. Relatively open flows of plant germplasm attended the early spread of agriculture; they continued in the wake of (and were driven by) imperialism, colonization, emigration, trade, development assistance and climate change. As crops have moved around the world, and agricultural innovation and production systems have expanded, so too has the scope and coverage of pools of shared plant genetic resources that support those systems. The range of actors involved in their conservation and use has also increased dramatically. 

    This book addresses how the collective pooling and management of shared plant genetic resources for food and agriculture can be supported through laws regulating access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits arising from their use. Since the most important recent development in the field has been the creation of the multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, many of the chapters in this book will focus on the architecture and functioning of that system. The book analyzes tensions that are threatening to undermine the potential of access and benefit-sharing laws to support the collective pooling of plant genetic resources, and identifies opportunities to address those tensions in ways that could increase the scope, utility and sustainability of the global crop commons.

    1. The Global Crop Commons and Access and Benefit-Sharing Laws: Examining the Limits of Policy Support for the Collective Pooling and Management of Plant Genetic Resources Michael Halewood, Isabel López Noriega and Selim Louafi.  Part 1: Setting the scene: countries’ interdependence on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the imperative of international cooperation.  2. Demonstrating interdependence on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture Marleni Ramirez, Rodomiro Ortiz, Suketoshi Taba, Leo Sebastian, Eduardo Peralta, David Williams, Anne Vezina, and Andreas Ebert.  3. Flows of crop germplasm into and out of China Fuyou Wang.  4. Crop and forage genetic resources: International interdependence in the face of climate change Julian Ramirez, Andy Jarvis, Sam Fujisaka, Jean Hanson and Christoph Leibing.  5. Changing Rates of Acquisition of Plant Genetic Resources by International Gene Banks: Setting the Scene to Monitor an Impact of the International Treaty Michael Halewood, Raj Sood, Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton, Ahmed Amri, Ines Van den Houwe, Nicolas Roux, Dominique Dumet, Jean Hanson, Hari D. Upadhyaya, Alexandra Jorge and David Tay.  Part 2: The history and design of the International Treaty’s multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing.  6. Brief history of the negotiations of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Jose Esquinas Alcázar, Angela Hilmi, Isabel López Noriega.  7. The design and mechanics of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing Daniele Manzella.  8. Protecting the interests of the multilateral system: the Third Party Beneficiary Gerald Moore.  9. Plant genetic resources "under the management and control of the contracting parties and in the public domain": how rich is the basket of the multilateral system? Carlos Correa.  10. Efforts to get the multilateral system up and running: a review of activities coordinated by the Treaty Secretariat Selim Louafi and Shakeel Bhatti.  Part 3: Critical reflections.  11. Experiences of countries in the implementation of the multilateral system: incentives and challenges at the country level Isabel Lopez Noriega, Peterson Wambugu and Alejandro Mejías.  12. From negotiations to implementation: global review of achievements, bottlenecks and opportunities for the Treaty in general, and the multilateral system in particular Godfrey Mwila.  13. The multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing: could it have been constructed another way? Clive Stannard.  14. The Moving Scope of Annex 1: The List of Crops Covered under the Multilateral System Bert Visser 15. Building a Global Information System in Support of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Caroline Ker, Myriam Sanou and Selim Louafi.  16. Collective action challenges in the implementation of the multilateral system of the International Treaty. What roles for the CGIAR Centres? Selim Louafi.  17. International and regional cooperation in the implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Gerald Moore.  18. The evolving global system of conservation and use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture: what is it, and where does the Treaty fit it? Toby Hodgkin, Nicole Demers and Emile Frison.  19. Institutionalizing global genetic resource commons for food and agriculture Tom Dedeurwaerdere.  Index.


    Michael Halewood is a Senior Scientist and Head of the Policy Research and Support Unit at Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.

    Isabel López Noriega is a legal specialist in the Policy Research and Support Unit of Bioversity International in Rome.

    Selim Louafi is based at the Centre de Cooperation Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement (CIRAD), Montpellier, France.

    "A rigorous, in-depth analysis of successful commons governance on a global scale has long been an under-researched, often overlooked and poorly understood area of study. Yet the critical importance collaborative management of global resources requires urgent attention. In this groundbreaking volume, Halewood, Noriega, and Louafi have assembled an international group of leading scholars and practitioners to systematically guide us through the complex terrain of crop genetic resources and agricultural biodiversity as global commons. The thoroughness of the analysis along with the lessons learned from practical applications will serve as indispensable tools for students of all types of global-commons resources."Charlotte Hess, co-editor with Elinor Ostrom of 'Understanding Knowledge as a Commons' and Associate Dean for Research, Collections, and Scholarly Communication for Syracuse University Library 

    "The preservation and enhancement of agrobiodiversity is of huge importance in a world that shall witness more disruptive climate shocks in the future, and in which food-deficit regions shall be increasingly dependent on food-surplus regions. This volume makes a strong case for governing plant genetic resources in ways that promote the evolution and conservation of agrobiodiversity, and to ensure that they are available to be used by all regions to adapt better to a changing environment. Yet, it is more than just another book about the governance of natural resources by the best experts in the field: it is also an indispensable tool to understand the future of agriculture in a world of dwindling resources and biodiversity loss."Olivier de Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food 

    "These meticulous studies of the FAO Treaty are of major theoretical and empirical importance to scholars and practitioners seeking a workable, transnational regime to govern all genetic resources for research and benefit sharing under the evolving international legal framework." Jerome H. Reichman, Bunyan S. Womble Professor of Law, Duke Law School, USA

    "The chapters in this book are meticulously researched and referenced. They provide some thought provoking suggestions for those concerned with agricultural research and policy formulation." – Michael Blakeney in Bio-Science Law Review