In the course of The ABS Project, IUCN’s Environmental Law Centre has taken a central position in promoting researched and balanced analysis of critical components of the current discussions of the international regime on access and benefit sharing under the CBD. The ABS Series provides the culmination of these efforts, enabling recognized experts to undertake intensive research and present detailed, balanced and reasonable analysis. It operates as a counterpoint to the growing numbers of authors whose work in ABS issues is sometimes more focused on advocacy than research. With this Series, we are trying to take a very different approach and to achieve a very different objective. Simply put, we hope to provide a deeper understanding of the legal, economic, practical and factual issues affecting the debate, and to build our analyses and recommendations on intensive legal research.
I have the pleasure of offering this brief introductory comment, in introduction of the first book in The ABS Series, by Jorge Cabrera and Christian López: Addressing the Problems of Access: Protecting Sources, While Giving Users Certainty. Like all books in the Series, it presents professionally skilled work from among the most able and well recognized legal experts working in the ABS area, in conjunction with rising experts in the field. In selecting the author, The ABS Project called on recognized international expert Jorge Cabrera and invited him to develop a collaborative team. He selected Christian López Silva, a young lawyer who has already gained extensive international experience in genetic resource issues (ABS and GMOs) through collaboration with key international law experts in IUCN, UNU, and the Sheffield Institute of Biotechnological Law & Ethics.
This book represents an effort to provide a balanced and researched analysis of the facts and law relevant to the development of national legislation by which countries provide the authority and rules for utilization of genetic resources over which they have sovereign rights recognized under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
This book, and indeed the entire ABS Project, owe a great debt to our primary financial supporter, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung or BMZ), and especially to Julia Kaiser, Andrea Laux and Frank Schmiedchen – without whom this work could not have been completed. Numerous other partners and collaborators have also made important and sustaining commitments for which we are very grateful.
Finally, on behalf of all of the authors of this title, I express our gratitude for the support and foresight of Dr. Alejandro Iza and the IUCN Environmental Law Centre. It was through Dr. Iza’s efforts that The ABS Project became a reality, and his understanding of the difficulties in its implementation as well as his support and the unstinting assistance of the staff of the Environmental Law Centre, including especially Legal Officer Daniel Klein, Project Assistant Ann DeVoy, Senior Information and Documentation Officer Anni Lukács, Documentation Officer Andrea Lesemann and Documentation Assistant Monica Pacheco-Fabig. Collectively, these individuals have been a primary reason that the Project could finish its work and that outputs throughout the term of the project have achieved the level of legal excellence expected of the IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Papers, among which The ABS Series has been included.
Tomme Rosanne Young
Series Editor and Project Manager, The ABS Project
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