There is much current controversy over whether the rights to seeds or plant genetic resources should be owned by the private sector or be common property. This book addresses the legal and policy aspects of the multilateral seed management regime. First, it studies in detail the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the Treaty) in order to understand and identify its dysfunctions. Second, it proposes solutions - using recent developments of the "theory of the commons" - to improve the collective seed management system of the Treaty, a necessary condition for its member states to reach the overall food security and sustainable agriculture goals.
Redesigning the Global Seed Commons provides a significant contribution to the current political and academic debates on agrobiodiversity law and governance, and on food security and food sovereignty, by analyzing key issues under the Treaty that affect the design and implementation of regulatory instruments managing seeds as a commons. It also examines the practical, legal, political and economic problems encountered in the attempt to implement these obligations in contemporary settings. In particular, it considers how to improve the Treaty implementation by proposing ways for Contracting Parties to better reach the Treaty’s objectives taking a holistic view of the human-seed ecosystem. Following the tenth anniversary of the functioning the Treaty’s multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing, which is currently under review by its Contracting Parties, this book is well-timed to examine recent developments in the field and guide the current review process to design a truly Global Seed Commons.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Harvesting the Benefits of the Commons to Grow a Food Secure World
1. A History of the International Seed Regulatory Setting
2. Challenges in the Seed Exchange to Reward the Custodians of Agro-biodiversity and Promote Innovation
3. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: A Summarized Legal Analysis
4. Seeds and People: A Stakeholders’ Analysis of the Treaty
5. Inspiring an Effective Plant Treaty with the ‘Theory of the Commons’
6. Conclusion. Towards Redesigning a Global Seed Commons
Christine Frison is an F.W.O. post-doctoral researcher at the Law Faculty of the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Christine is also part of LPTransition, a scientific research platform, both pluri-disciplinary and trans-sectorial, as well as holding an associate researcher position at the Centre for Philosophy of Law of the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She has worked as a Legal Research Fellow with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), based at the McGill University in Montréal, Canada, where she specialized in the field of international environmental law, biodiversity, biosafety and agrobiodiversity international law. Her latest book is The Commons, Plant Breeding and Agricultural Research (Routledge, 2018).