Nagoya Protocol: searching for living gold


Charles Brabin

Nagoya Protocol: searching for living gold

Gromovataya /

Does the coming into force of the Nagoya Protocol represent an overdue step in the right direction towards fairness, or more red tape and unattainable expectations? Charles Brabin, a non-practising barrister, sifts through the complexities.

Like gold panners they traverse the world, sifting through matter in the hope of striking lucky and finding immeasurable riches. Yet bioprospectors are more likely to be holding pipettes and sample tubes than metal detectors and pans. Bioprospecting involves searching for elements of the biological world that have potential commercial or scientific value.

The concept of bioprospecting and the issues it raises are not new, but rapid technological advances have brought them to the fore. In October 2014, the Nagoya Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) came into force with the aim of sharing the benefits of biological wealth. However, the project is still far from completion, critics warn of its flaws and the list of ratifying countries has many gaps, including the US.

So does Nagoya represent an overdue and desperately needed step in the right direction, or more red tape and unattainable expectations?

Nagoya Protocol; CBD