New Paper – Malaysia’s Implementation of the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing

malaysia coverBioversity International and the Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute are pleased to announce their co-publication of a paper by Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, Executive Director of the Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity Law, Faculty of Law, University of Malaya.

Click here to access and download the paper. 

The paper analyzes issues related to the implementation of the multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing in Malaysia. One of the main issues considered in the paper is whether PGRFA collections held by parastatal organizations are ‘under the management and control’ of the Malaysian national government ‘and in the public domain’ and therefore automatically included in the multilateral system. The paper offers a framework for analysis that can be used in other countries in situations where the ‘under the management and control’ status of PGRFA is not clear.

The paper also analyzes the relationship of Malaysia’s approach to implementing the multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing under the ITPGRFA to other access and benefit sharing rules that are being considered pursuant to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Ultimately the paper suggests means by which the future CBD-ABS draft law can exempt the ongoing operation of the multilateral system from its scope.

For more information, you may visit a blog post from earlier this year about the national consultative workshop that was held in Kuala Lumpur as part of the process of developing this paper.


New book – Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons

Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons

Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons

We are very pleased to announce the publication of Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons: Challenges in International Law and Governance.

The book investigates how the collective pooling and management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture can be supported through access and benefit sharing laws. Since the most important recent development in the field has been the creation of the multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, many of the chapters in this book focus on that system.

The book analyzes a range of relevant background factors, including the impact of climate change on countries’ interdependence on plant genetic resources, germplasm flows in and out of international genebanks, crops specfic research programs, and countries as a whole. It considers the historical development and mechanics of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing.  It provides space for leaders in the field to reflect on what has worked well, and where challenges remain in terms of the multilateral system’s performance as a central feature in a global system of collective action to conserve, and sustainably use plant genetic diversity, and equitably share benefits derived from that use. Finally, it identifies options for policy initiatives to further strengthen the support which the multilateral system provides the global crop commons.

Here is what some reviewers have said about the book so far.

“A rigorous, in-depth analysis of successful commons governance on a global scale has long been an under-researched, often overlooked and poorly understood area of study. Yet the critical importance collaborative management of global resources requires urgent attention. In this groundbreaking volume, Halewood, Noriega, and Louafi have assembled an international group of leading scholars and practitioners to systematically guide us through the complex terrain of crop genetic resources and agricultural biodiversity as global commons. The thoroughness of the analysis along with the lessons learned from practical applications will serve as indispensable tools for students of all types of global-commons resources.” – Charlotte Hess, co-editor with Elinor Ostrom of ‘Understanding Knowledge as a Commons’ and Associate Dean for Research, Collections, and Scholarly Communication for Syracuse University Library

“The preservation and enhancement of agrobiodiversity is of huge importance in a world that shall witness more disruptive climate shocks in the future, and in which food-deficit regions shall be increasingly dependent on food-surplus regions. This volume makes a strong case for governing plant genetic resources in ways that promote the evolution and conservation of agrobiodiversity, and to ensure that they are available to be used by all regions to adapt better to a changing environment. Yet, it is more than just another book about the governance of natural resources by the best experts in the field: it is also an indispensable tool to understand the future of agriculture in a world of dwindling resources and biodiversity loss.” – Olivier de Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food 

“These meticulous studies of the FAO Treaty are of major theoretical and empirical importance to scholars and practitioners seeking a workable, transnational regime to govern all genetic resources for research and benefit sharing under the evolving international legal framework.” – Jerome H. Reichman, Bunyan S. Womble Professor of Law, Duke Law School, USA

Over forty academics and practioners working in the field of agricultural biodiversity have contributed to 19 chapters.

More details about the book are available from Routledge.

This title is the fourth in the ‘Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity’ series co-published by Routledge and Bioversity International.

We have some copies available, for free, for libraries, research and farmers’ organziations in developing countries. Please contact bio-policy[at] to request a copy. Remember to provide a full mailing address.