Comparative policy review for access and exchange of genetic resources
among Pacific Rim countries

A research project funded by a grant from the UC Pacific Rim Research Program, 2001–2004

PI: Santiago Carrizosa, GRCP
Co-PIs: Steven B. Brush, Dept. of Human & Community Development, UC Davis and Brian J. Wright, Dept. of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley

Many Pacific Rim countries share ecological similarities in large terrestrial and marine regions but they also share the need to regulate access to their rich genetic resources. There is already great experience in the region that can be shared not only among the Pacific Rim countries, but also between these countries and other non-Pacific Rim countries that may also be facing access concerns. The goal of the project was to promote a participatory process to strengthen the capacity of Pacific Rim countries to generate sound access frameworks that facilitate both research activities and the exchange of genetic resources among these countries.

Specific objective. To identify existing access frameworks, benefit-sharing strategies, IPR issues, and bioprospecting initiatives in the Pacific Rim region and develop a comparative analysis.


1) Develop and conduct a survey of Pacific Rim countries to determine:

  • Status of development and implementation of access laws and policies
  • Status of IPRs
  • Presence of bioprospecting initiatives and whether these initiatives have designed novel and effective benefit-sharing strategies

2) Develop detailed review and concept papers from selected countries that have developed and adopted access laws and policies (Group A) and selected countries that are currently developing access laws (Group B). The concept papers from both groups of countries will address:

  • the process that led to or will lead to the development of national biodiversity access laws and policies.
  • the main difficulties and successes that countries have experienced during the design of access laws and policies.
  • the difficulties and successes in implementation of access laws and policies.
  • the influence of these laws/policies and IPR issues on bioprospecting initiatives.
  • any novel benefit-sharing strategies that have been implemented locally.

In addition, concept papers from the Group B countries will review the performance of bioprospecting initiatives in their countries that lack access laws and policies.

3) Prepare a comparative analysis

Based on the survey and concept papers, the project PIs developed a comparative analysis and a set of guidelines for countries that are currently developing access legislation or that are negotiating with bioprospecting groups. The comparative analysis addressed not only the variation in obstacles for the design of access laws, but also the solutions for the design of balanced laws.

4) Develop a comprehensive report

The comparative analysis, the guidelines, the survey results and the concept papers were organized into a report that has been published in hard copy from IUCN and is available in electronic form from the Genetic Resources Conservation Program website.

Expected outcomes.

The main outcomes of this phase of the project will include:

  • Increased awareness among Pacific Rim experts and policy-makers about alternatives for access and bioprospecting issues.
  • A network of experts and decision-makers on access and bioprospecting issues in the Pacific Rim.
  • A comparative analysis of access laws and policies and a set of access guidelines.
  • A comprehensive report that combines the survey results from all the Pacific Rim countries, the concept papers from the eight target countries, the comparative analysis of existing access laws and policies, and the guidelines for future action.
  • Status.

    Survey: Respondents were identified for 40 Pacific Rim countries, the survey questionnaire was developed and distributed, responses were received and analyzed, analyses were drafted and reviewed.

    Concept papers: Group A countries are Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Philippines, and the USA and Group B countries are Australia, Chile, and Malaysia. Experts from each were identified and concept papers were solicited, received, edited, and revised.

    The completed report was published by IUCN (World Conservation Union) and launched at the Third IUCN World Conservation Congress, 17–25 November 2004, in Bangkok Thailand:

    S. Carrizosa, S.B. Brush, B.D. Wright, and P.E. McGuire. 2004. Accessing Biodiversity and Sharing the Benefits: Lessons from Implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xiv+316 pp. ISBN 2-8317-0816-8.

    This page last updated March 10, 2005. Copyright UC Regents. All rights reserved.