The book Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons: Challenges in International Law and Governance investigates how the collective pooling and management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture can be supported through access and benefit-sharing laws. Since the most important recent development in the field has been the creation of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, many of the chapters in this book focus on that system.
The book analyzes a range of relevant background factors, including the impact of climate change on countries' interdependence on plant genetic resources, germplasm flows in and out of international genebanks, crops specific research programmes, and countries as a whole. It considers the historical development and mechanics of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing.
It provides space for leaders in the field to reflect on what has worked well, and where challenges remain in terms of the multilateral system's performance as a central feature in a global system of collective action to conserve and sustainably use plant genetic diversity, and equitably share benefits derived from that use. Finally, it identifies options for policy initiatives to further strengthen the support which the multilateral system provides to the global crop commons.
Download single chapters
PART I: Setting the scene: countries’ interdependence on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the imperative of international cooperation
PART II: The history and design of the International Treaty’s multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing
PART III: Critical reflections