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Governing the management and use of pooled microbial genetic resources: Lessons from the global crop commons

Author(s): Michael Halewood

Journal: International Journal of the Commons
ISSN 1875-0281

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 404;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: microbial genetic resources | commons | law | International Treaty | genebanks | governance | plant genetic resources | In-Trust Agreements | biodiversity | collective action

The paper highlights lessons learned over the last thirty years establishing a governance structure for the global crop commons that are of relevance to current champions of the microbial commons. It argues that the political, legal and biophysical situation in which microbial genetic resources (and their users) are located today are similar to the situation of plant genetic resources in the mid-1990s, before the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources was negotiated. Consequently, the paper suggests that it may be useful to look to the model of global network of ex situ plant genetic resources collections as a precedent to follow – even if only loosely – in developing an intergovernmentally endorsed legal substructure and governance framework for the microbial commons.
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