New publication on Access and Benefit-sharing

17 January 2008 | News story

IUCN Environmental Law Centre has published the first three volumes of the ‘ABS Series’ – a five-volume sub-series of the ELP’s Environmental Policy and Law Papers. The Series provides intensively researched expert analysis by internationally respected authors and contributors on key issues of access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing under the CBD.

The books no. 1, 2 and 3 address the ‘access’ and the ‘user side’ of ABS as well as questions about tracking and monitoring the international flows of genetic resources. The ABS Series represents the centerpiece of The ABS Project, which has been carried out by the ELC since 2003, with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Development Cooperation (BMZ).


The third book of the ABS Series – A Moving Target: Genetic Resources and Options for Tracking and Monitoring their International Flows, edited by Manuel Ruiz Muller and Isabel Lapeña (in collaboration with the Sociedad Peruana del Derecho Ambiental (SPDA)) is now available in print and for download from the ELP website.


This book examines the question of how genetic resources can be tracked and monitored, an element or mechanism that has been indicated would be essential for ensuring that ABS rules and requirements are complied with. It focuses on a number of different perspectives on this issue, considering legal, practical, economic and scientific approaches and issues.


The first book of the Series – Addressing the Problems of Access: Protecting Sources, While Giving Users Certainty, by Jorge Cabrera Medaglia and Christian López-Silva, EPLP 67/1 – focuses on the aspect of access to genetic resources. Recognizing that all existing ABS legislation addresses only the “provider side” of the ABS issue, this book brings together a comprehensive analysis of that body of legislation, and considers the aspects that are still non-functional or have not yet been properly addressed.


The second book – Beyond Access: Exploring Implementation of the Fair and Equitable Sharing Commitment in the CBD, by Morten Walløe Tvedt and Tomme Young (in collaboration with the Fridtjof Nansen Institute), EPLP 67/2 – addresses the “user side” and the main questions surrounding the benefit sharing obligation of Article 15.7 of the CBD. It provides the first intensive analysis of national legislation addressing the user side of the ABS issue and examines the problem of “user  measures” and the significant additional work that is needed by user countries as well as the negotiations of the international regime on ABS if the ABS regime is to become functional.


Book No. 4 of the ABS Series (“Contracting for ABS: The Legal and Scientific Implications of Bioprospecting Contracts”) and book No. 5 (“Covering ABS: Addressing the Need for Sectoral, Geographical, Legal and International Integration in the ABS Regime”) are being finalized and will be available soon.


Further relevant publications by the ELC include:

Explanatory Guide to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Gerald Moore and Witold Tymowski, 2005


Accessing Biodiversity and Sharing the Benefits: Lessons from Implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity, edited by Santiago Carrizosa, Stephen B. Brush, Brian D. Wright, Patrick E. McGuire, 2004 Available in English and Chinese.


ABS information brochure in German language
The ELC has also developed an information brochure on ABS in German, with support from the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. Published in September 2007, the brochure presents ABS issues in a nutshell and provides numerous links for further information. It is also available in electronic format.


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.