Regulating Genetic Resources
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Regulating Genetic Resources

Access and Benefit Sharing in International Law

Charles Lawson

This detailed and concise book surveys the international genetic resources laws applying in Antarctica, space, the oceans and seas, the lands, and the airspaces above land and water.
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Chapter 6: Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture

Charles Lawson


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) adopted the Plant GeneticResources Treaty in 2001, which entered into force on 29 June 2004, as the renegotiation of the 1983 UN’s International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. A new agreement had been envisioned during the negotiation of the CBD recognising ‘the special nature of agricultural biodiversity, its distinctive features and problems needing distinctive solutions’. The negotiation of the Treaty through the FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) (formerly the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture) was, according to the mandate, ‘for the adaptation of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, in harmony with the [CBD]’. Throughout the negotiations there remained a close oversight by the CBD’s COP. The significant outcome was recognizing sovereignty in plant genetic resources and an obligation for access and benefit-sharing.

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