The Term 'Genetic Resources': Flexible and Dynamic while Providing Legal Certainty?

In Oberthür, S. and G.K. Rosendal (eds), Global Governance of Genetic Resources: Access and Benefit Sharing after the Nagoya Protocol. London/New York, Routledge, 2014, pp. 18-32.

The term genetic resources is a core one to the implementation of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). As biotechnology and knowledge on genetics change rapidly, there is a need for some flexibility and dynamic in the interpretation of the definition of the term. At the same time, for a legal system to provide for legal certainty, the main definition needs to have some level of stability in a manner which can be interpreted and enforced by a court. This paper shows how the definition of ‘genetic resources’ captures different dimensions and was crafted in a manner robust enough to cope with unforeseen challenges.