Biopiracy and states' sovereignty over their biological resources

Zinatul Ashiqin Zainol, Latifah Amin, Frank Akpoviri, Rosli Ramli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the last several decades, indigenous communities had to contend with the misappropriation of their biological resources and associated traditional knowledge (TK) through the inappropriate exercise of intellectual property rights (IPRs). The advent of modern biotechnology has intensified this problem leaving indigenous communities increasingly vulnerable. As a counter measure, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted in 1992, proclaiming the sovereignty of states over their biological resources, and requiring their consent and the equitable sharing of benefits on mutually agreed terms as conditions for access. On October 29, 2010, the Nagoya Protocol was adopted to implement these provisions. Nevertheless, the CBD has attracted critical comments from those opposed to the idea of state sovereignty over biological resources, especially when the exercise of sovereignty transcends a state's territorial borders. Two alternative doctrines; "the common heritage of mankind ", and "the global commons", have been canvassed. This paper set out to analyse these arguments together with the alternative doctrines, in order to determine whether state sovereignty over biological resources as proclaimed by the CBD is justified. The merits of each doctrine were examined against the background of the problems presented to indigenous communities by the trinity of biopiracy, IPRs and modern biotechnology. The paper found that the doctrine of state sovereignty over biological resources, whilst having its limitations, is not only normatively justified, but is also, comparatively more capable of helping to protect the biological resources and associated TK of indigenous communities against piracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12395-12408
Number of pages14
JournalAfrican Journal of Biotechnology
Volume10
Issue number58
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2011

Fingerprint

biological resources
Biodiversity
Intellectual Property
Ownership
Biotechnology
intellectual property rights
indigenous knowledge
biodiversity
biotechnology
exercise

Keywords

  • Biological resources
  • Biopiracy
  • Convention on biological diversity (CBD)
  • Indigenous communities
  • Patents
  • Plant breeders' rights
  • Sovereignty
  • Traditional knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Cite this

Biopiracy and states' sovereignty over their biological resources. / Zainol, Zinatul Ashiqin; Amin, Latifah; Akpoviri, Frank; Ramli, Rosli.

In: African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol. 10, No. 58, 30.09.2011, p. 12395-12408.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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