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 focused more on advocacy than on 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.

This fourth book in our Series, entitled Contracting for ABS: The Legal and Scientific Implications of Bioprospecting Contracts, is designed to provide two types of information that have sometimes been in short supply. First, it focuses on contractual issues – analysis of ABS Agreements as legal contracts, and legal advice regarding the ways that they are different from (and more difficult to negotiate than) other types of legal instruments and contracts. Second, it attempts to fill a significant gap in the awareness and information available to persons negotiating the contracts regarding the scientific, technical, and practical activities that the users will be undertaking – activities that must be addressed by the Agreement.

The editors and contributors of this book include a number whose names and reputations are well known in conservation and genetic resources policy, including Shakeel Bhatti, who headed the Genetic Resources, Biotechnology, and Traditional Knowledge Section of the World Intellectual Property Organization when the writing of this book began and has since been named Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, Santiago Carrizosa, currently Regional Technical Advisor for Biodiversity with the United Nations Development Programme/Global Environmental Facility, and Patrick McGuire, who headed the UC Genetic Resources Conservation Program. It is my pleasure, as well as my duty on behalf of The ABS Project to express my gratitude to these and all contributors to this book.

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, without the support and foresight of Dr. Alejandro Iza and the IUCN Environmental Law Centre, this book and all of the other works of The ABS Project would not exist. 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 in producing this book, including Legal Officer Jane Bulmer, Project Assistant Ann DeVoy, Senior Information and Documentation Officer Anni Lukács, and Documentation Assistant Monica Pacheco-Fabig. Collectively, these individuals have been the 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
August, 2009

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