Series Editor's Preface

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.

In this sense, however, this third book in our Series, A Moving Target: Genetic Resources and Options for Tracking and Monitoring their International Flows represents a slightly different approach. Not only are the concepts of “tracking,” “tracing,” “monitoring,” “documenting” and “verifying” various aspects of genetic resource utilization highly controversial as of the time of compiling this book, but they call for the creation of concepts, measurements, oversight systems, and other legal frameworks that are unprecedented (and therefore neither predictable nor evaluable). In compiling this book, editors Manuel Ruiz Muller and Isabel Lapeña have attempted to provide a range of views encompassing many different perspectives, each supported by researched analysis of the relevant facts and law.

In selecting the editors, The ABS Project has teamed a recognized international expert (Manuel Ruiz Muller) whose significant body of work over many years has shown a constant desire to help the ABS issue evolve and function, with another excellent lawyer (Isabel Lapeña) whose rigorously developed insights into the issue should be better recognized in the future. Their combined efforts on this book have exceeded the Project's high expectations, resulting in a work that will not only have an impact on the framing of the current negotiations, but will also provide a basis for sound decision-making in implementation of the regime through many coming years. I am very grateful to Dr. Jorge Caillaux and the Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental for enabling them to make this important contribution to international development of this critical issue.

This book and indeed the entire 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, 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

September, 2007

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