Bounded openness as the modality for the global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism of the Nagoya Protocol

Authored by: Joseph Henry Vogel , Klaus Angerer , Manuel Ruiz Muller , Omar Oduardo-Sierra

Routledge Handbook of Biodiversity and the Law

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138693302
eBook ISBN: 9781315530857
Adobe ISBN:


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‘Access to genetic resources’ and ‘the fair and equitable sharing of benefits’ (ABS) has beleaguered the thirteen Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD). Despite the expectation that COP10 would achieve a workable policy, the negotiations resolved none of the many contentious issues (Kamau et al., 2010) and even added a new one (West, 2012). One might say that had the discipline of economics not been studiously ignored since 1992 (Oduardo-Sierra et al., 2012), a ‘fair and equitable’ policy would have arisen as early as COP1 in 1994. As will be elaborated here, the field of economics appropriate for ABS is the economics of information, which recognizes that ‘[i]nformation is a fundamentally different commodity from normal goods. It is costly to produce but cheap to reproduce’ (Samuelson and Nordhaus, 2010, pp. 222–23). The asymmetry means that government should either finance information or grant the ‘owner special protection against the material’s being copied and used by others without compensation’ (Samuelson and Nordhaus, 2010, p. 223).

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