The World Convention on Biological Diversity and its obligations have heightened biodiversity conservation to the forefront of international relations and National policies. Increased expectations of the perceived value of genetic resources and the potential for massive amounts of funds for conservation have created an atmosphere of extended National sovereignties towards control over biological resources. Developing countries (particularly biodiversity-rich ones) are exploring ways to control the trade, collection, and research of biological resources, while developed countries are trying to extend patent laws, intellectual property rights, and biotechnology on the use of components of biological resources. Since Andean countries as a group probably hold the largest portion of biological diversity in the world in absolute numbers, endemics and restricted range species, these countries have been among the first in the world to define a legal regulatory framework to control the access to genetic resources. Decision 391 defines the basis for a common regime for access to genetic resources by the Andean Pact countries. This resolution imposes new cumbersome controls upon access of genetic resources. If implemented in letter and spirit. Decision 391 will impose disincentives on biodiversity research, and therefore will impair growth in the knowledge base of Andean biodiversity at a time when these countries need more information to better manage their biological resources.
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|Published - Jan 1 1999
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