ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Convention on Biological Diversity

Need for a Review

A response to “Critiquing Narrow Critiques of Convention on Biological Diversity’’ (Alphonsa Jojan et al, EPW, 3 November 2018) discusses how the Convention on Biological Diversity puts restrictions on research and warns about the unintended consequences of the regulations designed to prevent global inequalities in the use of genetic resources which may end up promoting global injustice.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has completed a quarter century of existence and there is growing evidence that the CBD-inspired national legislations would come in the way of not only taxonomic research, but also global food security (Prathapan and Rajan 2009), conservation of ecosystems, sustainable utilisation of genetic resources, and mitigation of diseases of plants, animals and humans (Grajal 1999; Cressey 2017; Smith et al 2018). All through the negotiations leading to the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol, biological resources were treated akin to non-renewable resources such as oil or coal. However, genetic resources, being truly renewable like knowledge resources, are non-rival and their use in a given country never limits use elsewhere.

Alphonsa Jojan et al (EPW, 3 November 2018) argue that countries with rich biodiversity should exercise control over their genetic resources, through multiple ways, even when there is no commercial interest involved. They further argue that this is necessary to ensure equity and fairness, as well as to resist misappropriation of bio resources and associated knowledge. According to them, the third objective of the CBDfair and equitable sharing of commercial benefits of biodiversityis one of its key aspects. These authors, who find our critique of CBD and the consequent national legislations (Prathapan et al 2018) narrow, have missed the larger picture of the aftermath of the CBD. We have hardly mentioned the Biological Diversity Act (BDA), 2002 of India, yet Jojan et al use the pages of EPW to gloss over many fallouts of this act and its implementation by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), that has elicited sharp criticism from the science community in India (Prathapan et al 2006, 2008 ). The authors appear to be unaware of the reactions of the community of biodiversity researchers from all over the world towards the CBD framework and the literature on the negative impact of the CBD and national legislations on biodiversity research (Grajal 1999; Pethiyagoda et al 2007; Fernndez 2011; Bockmann et al 2018).

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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