Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 17: Developing countries and the legal institutions at the intersection of agbiotech and development
The establishment, evolution and modus operandi of global regulatory institutions reflects the interests and tendencies of the global balance of power (Braithwaite and Drahos, 2000). While attempts are made to accommodate the complex aggregation of interests amongst actors in the global policy-making processes, the overall outcome is hardly satisfactory (Krasner, 1983).The tendency of stronger states to wield influence over critical global regulatory institutions accounts for the perennial suspicion that characterizes the engagement with, and expectations of developing countries and their local and indigenous communities from those institutions. As such, the permanent challenge of global regulatory institutions is to bridge, rather than escalate, the development gap between developed and less developed countries through targeted policy interventions. As a consequence, most global regulatory institutions and processes operate at the intersection of North-South tension with often conflicting visions of development (Develtere, 2012). Some of the institutions that operate within the social policy spectra, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) (via the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)), and the UN human rights system, are comparatively more confident about their role and relationship with developing countries but, somewhat unexpectedly, often they have a tense relationship with developed countries.
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