Global Biodiversity Governance: Genetic Resources, Species, and Ecosystems

In R.S. Axelrod and S.D. VanDeveer (eds), The Global Environment. Institutions, Law, and Policy. Los Angeles, Sage, 2014, pp. 283-304.

This chapter looks into what biodiversity is, why it matters, and how global political institutions are seeking to address and remedy the loss of biodiversity. The bulk of the chapter describes the contents, negotiations, and ongoing politics and conflicts relating to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Throughout, the chapter sheds light on actor interests and major differences that characterize the international biodiversity negotiations. Interactions between the CBD and related international regimes are also pointed out. The chapter addresses some of the problematic aspects of developing international instruments and financial mechanisms to deal with environmental crosscutting issues pertaining to energy, climate change, and forest conservation. These conflicts cut across the North-South axis in the sense that development and energy issues have strong proponents all over the world, while the conservation and environment movement is comparatively weak globally. Finally, the chapter examines the Cartagena Protocol, which raises issues of risk and precaution in relation to international trade involving genetically modified organisms (GMOs).