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Regine Andersen Obtains Doctoral Degree on Management of Plant Genetic Resources in Agriculture

Regine Andersen(23.02.2007) Regine Andersen has today successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on the effects of international regimes on the management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in developing countries.

The dissertation's point of departure is the alarming rate at which domesticated plant varieties are disappearing, and that this loss of biodiversity has negative consequences for food security, traditional small-scale farming, and poverty alleviation. At the same time, interest in the commercial use of genetic resources has increased through the development of biotechnologies, and industry is demanding intellectual property rights to seeds and other genetic resources. This has triggered and affected the formation of various international regimes from different angles and with different objectives. The objectives include the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources, access and benefit sharing, farmers' rights, and intellectual property rights.

The dissertation analyses the interaction between these international agreements related to plant genetic resources in agriculture. It especially looks into how their interaction affects developing countries, and makes an in-depth case study of one country: The Philippines.

A key conclusion is that the interaction between the various regimes has had largely negative effects for the management of these vital resources for food security in developing countries – despite other intentions behind the individual agreements. The result of these developments is an emerging anti-commons tragedy: A situation where multiple actors have the possibilities to exclude each other from the use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) that entered into force in 2004 has potentials to change this development, but whether it will succeed depends on the political will of its Contracting Parties.

A more detailed summary of the dissertation and its finding can be found here.

The dissertation, entitled "Governing Agrobiodiversity: International Regimes, Plant Genetics and Developing Countries", was submitted to the Department of Political Science at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo in June 2006. Andersen's supervisors have been Professor Arild Underdal (Department of Political Science, University of Oslo) and Professor Cary Fowler (Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences).
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Further information:
   Regine Andersen's homepage
   PhD project homepage "Governing Agrobiodiversity - Inter-Regime Conflicts on Plant Genetics and Developing Countries"
   PhD dissertation summary (in English)
   PhD dissertation summary (in Norwegian)
   General information on FNI's research on biological diversity
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 The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental, energy, and resource management politics.
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