| FNI PROJECTS
Governing Agrobiodiversity Inter-Regime Conflicts
on Plant Genetics and Developing Countries
genetic diversity is vital for the breeding of food crops and thus one of the
central preconditions for food security. However, food crop genetic erosion is
reportedly a serious problem, and for several major crops the variety losses
have been up to 80-90% over the past century. At the same time, the interest in
the commercial use of genetic resources has increased in line with the growing
economic stakes of the biotechnologies, followed by demands for intellectual
property rights. As patent systems are costly institutions, the capacity of
developing countries to develop and effectively use such systems is limited.
For this and other reasons, there have been many protests from the South
against intellectual property rights to plant genetic resources. The
international community has responded with regimes fully or partly pertaining
to the management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture: The
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Treaty on Plant
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the WTO Agreement on
Trade Related Intellectual Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), and
the International Convention on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
In this project, which has been the base for the doctoral
dissertation of FNI Senior Research Fellow Regine
Andersen, the effects of these overlapping international regimes for the
domestic management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in
developing countries have been analysed. The point of departure has been case
studies in one country, the Philippines, and the results have been validated
with regard to their relevance for other developing countries. The focus of the
case studies has been on how actors that were engaged in the field of plant
genetic resources for food and agriculture have influenced the processes
leading to the legislation on this issue, and on the factors that have
influenced the positions of these actors. In this context, the influence of
international regimes on actor positions has been emphasised. Finally, the
effects of these constellations on the implementation of the legislation have
The doctoral dissertation was submitted and approved in
2006, and was successfully defended on 23 February 2007. An edited version of
the dissertation will be published by Ashgate in 2008.
Project period: 2000-2008
Andersen, Regine, Governing
Agrobiodiversity: Plant Genetics and Developing Countries. Aldershot,
Ashgate, 2008, 420 p.
Andersen, Regine, Governing Agrobiodiversity:
International Regimes, Plant Genetics and Developing Countries. Doctoral
dissertation, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences,
University of Oslo. Oslo, Unipub AS, 2007, xx, 537 p.
Agrobiodiversity: A Framework for Analysis of Aggregate Effects of
International Regimes. Paper presented at the Institutional Dimensions
of Global Environmental Change Synthesis Conference, Bali, Indonesia, 6-9
Andersen, Regine, Governing Agrobiodiversity: The Emerging
Tragedy of the Anti-Commons in the South. Paper for the 47th Annual
Convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, USA, 22-25
Explaining Compliance with Intellectual
Property Commitments: The Case of Agrobiodiversity. Paper for the 47th
Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, USA,
22-25 March, 2006.
om poteten Linda' ('The story about the potato variety 'Linda'').
Nationen, 11 August 2005. In Norwegian.
skal eie bondens frø?' ('Who shall own farmer's seeds?').
Aftenposten, 18 May 2005. In Norwegian.
Andersen, Regine, The Interaction between International
Agreements Pertaining to the Management of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and
Agriculture and the Response of Developing Countries. Paper presented
at the 46th Annual ISA Convention, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1-5 March,
kan styre en globalisert verden?' ('Who can govern a globalized world?').
Aftenposten, 16 December 2004. In Norwegian.
'FAO and the Management of Plant Genetic
Resources'. In Stokke and Thommessen, Yearbook of International
Co-operation on Environment and Development 2003/2004. London, Earthscan,
2003, pp. 43-53.
'The Time Dimension in International
Regime Interplay'. Global Environmental Politics, Vol 2, No 3, 2002,
Andersen, Regine and Morten Walløe Tvedt, 'Historien
om patent på gule bønner i USA: Kan man patentere en farge?' ('The
story about the patents on yellow beans in the USA: Is it possible to patent a
colour?'). Gen-i-alt, No 4, 2002, pp. 12-13. In
Andersen, Regine, How International Agreements Complicate
the Management of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in
Developing Countries. Paper presented at the International Symposium
Systaining Food Security and Managing Natural Resources in Southeast Asia:
Challenges for the 21st Century, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 8-11 January,
Andersen, Regine, Conceptualising the Convention on Biological
Diversity: Why is it difficult to determine the 'country of origin' of
agricultural plant varieties? FNI report 7/2001. Lysaker: The Fridtjof
Nansen Institute, 2001.
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