Fair shares or biopiracy? Developing ethical
criteria for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from crop genetic
|Rojahn, Julia (2010):
Fair shares or biopiracy?
Developing ethical criteria for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from
crop genetic resources
Phd-dissertation (Tübingen, Germany:
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen).
One main objective of the
Convention on Biological Diversity is the "fair and equitable sharing of the
benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources" (Art. 1). In this
PhD thesis, the author has addressed the question what exactly "fair and
equitable" benefit sharing could mean, differentiating it into questions
concerning aims and purposes, legitimate property rights, who should receive
benefits and who should be required to share them, what elements they should
consist of, and how these demands could be implemented. For answering these
questions, she has first derived general principles of justice in benefit
sharing from the conceptions of justice by John Rawls and Thomas Pogge, before
then employing them for developing concrete criteria for fair and equitable
benefit sharing for crop genetic resources. In a nutshell, fair and equitable
benefit sharing according to the principles and criteria identified in this
thesis should be conceived and designed (also) as compensation for existing
inequalities and injustices. Another central result is the observation that
benefit sharing based primarily upon private contracts between individual users
and providers is probably not able to meet important demands of justice, such
as the protection of the rights of resource holders, multilateral benefit
sharing, and benefit sharing for resources already in the public domain.
Therefore, the author suggests a global benefit sharing scheme which combines
contractual benefit sharing with benefit sharing in the absence of such
contracts. Unfortunately, substantial concerns of justice like those considered
here are often neglected in politics, e.g. in the current negotiations for an
International Regime on Access and Benefit Sharing.