Beyond the Thumbrule Approach: Regulatory Innovation for Bioprospecting in India

Law Environment and Development Journal, Vol 11, No 1, 2015, pp 1-20.

This article discusses the India implementation of access and benefit sharing regulations. The Indian act has gain experience because of its years in force, and this article assesses the experiences. Towards the end, the article draws conclusions and provide proposals for the future. Bioprospecting works with high levels of unpredictability. Bioprospectors embark on the research and development of genetic resources or associated traditional knowledge with varied levels of certainty regarding the ultimate product. The value chain beginning with the identification of genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge of potential value and culminating in the final commercial or research success is on many occasions a long and uncertain one. Furthermore ABS as an innovative financing mechanism for biodiversity conservation can only work if real benefits from bioprospecting can be generated and local rights to biodiversity are respected. This implies that both provider countries, communities and bioprospectors would have to engage in not only later stage benefit sharing but also early stage ‘risk sharing’.