CBD : A hurdle in research?

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), of which India is signatory too, is hindering biodiversity research and preventing international collaborations due to regulations that have risen due to its implementation.
  • The CBD is aimed at conserving biological diversity, sustainably using biological components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits (with local or indigenous communities) that may arise out of the utilisation of genetic resources.
  • India is one of the 196 countries that has committed to the CBD and ratified it in February 1994.
  • But this has generated unintended consequences for research; due to national-level legislations instituted by countries under the CBD, obtaining field permits for access to specimens for non-commercial research has become increasingly difficult.
  • It is being suggest that the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture or the Seed Treaty, which ensures worldwide public accessibility of genetic resources of essential food and fodder, could be used as a model for exchange of biological materials for non-commercial research.
  • Another solution may be to add an explicit treaty or annex in the CBD to promote and facilitate biodiversity research, conservation, and international collaboration.
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  • It is popularly known as the International Seed Treaty.
  • It was adopted by the Thirty-First Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 3 November 2001.
  • It is a comprehensive international agreement in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, which aims at guaranteeing food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use.
  • The Treaty aims at recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world; establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials; Ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.

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