New Book Series on Access and Benefit-sharing

12 October 2007 | News story

In one of IUCN’s three Side Events organized during the Fifth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (WG-ABS) in Montreal, Canada, the IUCN Environmental Law Centre launched the first three books 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 around tracking and
monitoring the international flows of genetic resources. The event benefited greatly from the presence of several of the authors and editors – Tomme Young, Morten Walløe Tvedt and Manuel Ruiz – who presented concise and thought-provoking introductions to the content and main results of the books.


The launching and distribution of the first three volumes was well received,
noticeable from the 600 hard paper copies picked up by delegates during the launch
and the following days. It is hoped that the current negotiations of an international
regime on ABS as well as efforts in ABS implementation on national and regional
levels will benefit from the analysis, findings and suggested approaches presented.
The first two books (EPLP 67/1 and EPLP 67/2) are available online. 
The third book, which was released as advance copy, will soon be available in its final typeset version, equally at the indicated ELP publication website.


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 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 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.


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 and Isabel Lapeña (in collaboration with Sociedad Peruana del Derecho Ambiental (SPDA)) – 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.


Books No. 4 and 5 of the ABS Series (entitled Contracting for ABS: The Legal and Scientific Implications of Bioprospecting Contracts and Covering ABS: Addressing the Need for Sectoral, Geographical, Legal and International Integration in the ABS Regime) are in the phase of finalization and expected to be available, at the latest, in January 2008, when the sixth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (WG-ABS-6) will take place in Geneva, Switzerland.


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