Keywords: national access regimes, genetic resources, Andean community, Convention on Biological Diversity, developing countries, plant genetic resources, food and agriculture
Do national access regimes promote the use of genetic resources and benefit sharing?
This paper examines the implementation of national regimes on access to genetic resources in a number developing countries, particularly in the members of the Andean Community. It discusses the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity that inspired such regimes, the main aspects of the adopted legislation, the expectations that countries had while introducing it and the problems faced by regulatory authorities in dealing with access applications. The paper also analyses the implications of such regimes on research and the extent to which the objectives with regard to benefit sharing have been reached. The problems created by the application of uniform rules to all kinds of genetic resources is also addressed, in connection with the treatment of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA). The paper suggests the need to review the access regimes in order to consider the special case of PGRFA, and to solve the difficulties found in their application.