Challenges of implementing the convention on biological diversity in developing countries to prevent biopiracy: a case
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This study looks at the challenges of implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in developing countries with regards to the problem of biopiracy, defined in brief as the illegal appropriation and privatization of biological diversity and genetic resources and the knowledge of indigenous local communities in developing countries by developed countries without prior informed consent or benefit sharing mechanisms. The work undertakes a case study of Kenya for this purpose. The study's scope is on Articles 80) and 15 of the CBD, which form the bedrock of international discourse and initiatives on access benefit sharing (ABS) contributing to the CBD three pronged goal of conservation of biological diversity; sustainable use of its components; and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. It therefore examines the provisions of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, which espouses the concept of intellectual property rights and their standard application globally through the international trade regime of the World Trade Organization and evaluates how the conflict that occurs between the CBD and TRIPS facilitates the occurrence of biopiracy. The study utilizes the world systems paradigm in explaining the challenges of implementation of the CBD to illustrate how biopiracy, and thus the loss of biodiversity resources from developing to developed countries occurs and is perpetuated. This study utilizes a methodology of both primary and secondary research, using structured interviews with key personnel and scholars in the field as well as desk research of appropriate studies, reports and papers on the subject. The study identifies in-country challenges as well as non-utilization of existing legislative vacuums (even within TRIPS and CBD) as factors that accelerate the occurrence of biopiracy, and which unfortunately many developing countries have largely ignored in their initiatives to solve the biopiracy problem despite the lethargy of the international. system to review the TRIPS agreement, and/or formulate an international regime on ABS. The study therefore concludes that a multi pronged approach is required to solve the biopiracy problem, one that clearly identifies these national challenges and hence develops local initiatives to reduce the opportunities for biopirate activities, but also one that thinks 'outside the box' and utilizes the existing provision vacuums within TRIPS and CBD to create national frameworks that protect biological diversity and related knowledge.