Protection in International Negotiations: Cooperation and Conflict

In Shlomi Dinar (ed), Beyond Resource Wars: Scarcity, Environmental Degradation, and International Cooperation. Cambridge (USA), The MIT Press, 2011, pp. 59-86.

The paper discusses the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with its comprehensive approach to biodiversity protection at all levels and sectors. Beyond biodiversity loss and value, an examination of the other factors that hampered and facilitated the CBD negotiations and outcome is also provided. Multiple levels of power asymmetries and controversies and evolving political norms and principles, for example, were crucial to understanding the final negotiated outcome of the CBD. The final part of the chapter looks beyond the cooperative solution and dwells on the access and benefit sharing (ABS) issue in the implementation phase. While the ABS issue can be seen as a great success for cooperation at the normative level (the CBD, likewise, contains important elements on how to deal with the ABS conflict in principle), implementation has been difficult. Asymmetries remain a stumbling block, power is often an important component in decision making, and cooperation is far from accomplished in day-to-day policy.