Biodiversity Act: Access and Benefit sharing


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"Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are age old traditions in India, as reflected in our ancient scriptures. There are numerous instances of  use of indigenous plants in religious rituals, ceremonial offerings and local healthcare practices. Historically, biodiversity was taken as an important  public good to be shared by all. However, biogenetic resources are of tremendous importance for a host of value-added products such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements. In fact, the combined world market for products manufactured through bioresources is estimated to be over 500 billion USD (Laird and Kate, 2002). Given market imperfections, the user always derives far greater financial benefit as compared to the owner of the resource, hence overturning the principle of equity.

The 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity

In recent years, biodiversity losses have become a major cause of concern, especially with several species endangered or on a decline. Where biodiversity is concerned, a species lost is lost forever. In view of this problem, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was initiated at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and came into force in December 1993 as an international instrume

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    B Meenakumari

    The complexity in evaluating biodiversity makes it difficult to ensure equity where bio-resources are concerned. Convention of Biological Diversity and India Biodiversity Act are moves to bring in equity in the sharing of bio-resources for mutual benefit.

    Author is Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority, Chennai.

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