The Political Economy of the International ABS Regime Negotiations:Options and Synergies with Relevant IPR Instruments and Processes

Date period
8 July 2010

This paper examines the history, evolution and current status of the negotiations of an international regime (IR) on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing (ABS) in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It addresses the relationship between the IR and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The article highlights options and scenarios for a synergistic implementation of the intellectual property rights (IPR) instruments, processes and the possible outcomes of the IR and raises some questions that require further scrutiny.
This document covers the following:

    • The general dynamics of the negotiations under the international ABS regime.
    • The different options in the current negotiations in relation to trade, intellectual property and bio-diversity issues and in particular disclosure of origin in IPR applications.
    • The possible outcomes for the negotiations on these issues.
    • The relationship of the ABS negotiations with other relevant fora and negotiations at the multilateral (WTO-WIPO-UPOV), bilateral and regional level.

The IR negotiations have addressed a wide range of issues of interest for developing countries. However, this paper is limited to describing and analyzing the most relevant elements related to IPR and biodiversity under discussion in the IR.