Table of Contents

Governance of Genetic Resources

Governance of Genetic Resources

A Guide to Navigating the Complex Global Landscape

Catherine Rhodes

Governance of Genetic Resources maps out a landscape of the international governance of genetic resources. It shows what governance efforts currently exist, what is missing, which areas are problematic, and outlines what the international community should be aiming for in regard to its future development and implementation.

Chapter 6: Emerging trends and initiatives

Catherine Rhodes

Subjects: development studies, law and development, environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, intellectual property law, law and development, public international law


This chapter provides an opportunity to outline some of the on-going trends and emerging initiatives in genetic resources governance. There are many positive developments, particularly in regard to work which is being done among international organizations to boost awareness of related rules and mechanisms and how they can be implemented in a mutually supportive manner, and in relation to cooperative capacity-building efforts. Problems within the international governance of genetic resources are examined in the next chapter; the point to note here is that the situation is not entirely negative and there are many opportunities for improvement. International governance efforts for genetic resources began in the 1950s with quite limited information exchange efforts relating to plant genetic resources (PGRs). The predominant focus on international governance efforts continued to be on PGRs (for food and agriculture) into the 1990s. Since then attention has increasingly been paid to other types of genetic resources, including animal genetic resources (AnGRs), human genetic resources and microbial genetic resources. Work on AnGRs is perhaps the most far advanced towards the level of efforts available for PGRs. Governance efforts specific to human genetic resources remain limited to three declarations of principles and provision of some background documents on various issues relating to the protection of human rights in work on human genetic resources. There is also more recent development of work relating to sub-sets or cross-cutting categories of genetic resources.

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