On behalf of IUCN's Environmental Law Programme, I am pleased to present this book Covering ABS: Addressing the Need for Sectoral, Geographical, Legal and International Integration in the ABS Regime, written by Tomme Young with contributions from many others, and published as IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Paper (EPLP) No. 67/5. This book commemorates a project which has provided researched professional analysis into one of the most legally challenging concepts currently facing the international community – access and benefit sharing (ABS) under Article 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. As exemplified in this book, the project provided inputs on a wide range of specific issues within the ABS concept, and has had a recognized positive impact on international negotiations which are currently ongoing, as well as on actual ABS developments and practices at the national and regional level, through governments, NGOs, stakeholder groups and others. The IUCN EPLP series dates back to 1972, and has through 35 years maintained a high standard of legal scholarship and quality outputs.

The ABS Series, which includes this book, is the first ‘sub-series’ within the EPLP, designed in this way to maximize the usefulness and accessibility of these writings to the broad range of participants addressing the ABS challenge at both national and international levels. We believe that this Series offers a real contribution that will enable progress on an issue which has, up to now, been stymied both by its complexity and by its controversial nature. It is only through the understanding of those complexities that consensus and useful compromise can be attained that will resolve the controversies and enable a functional system for achieving the all-important equity objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the sponsors of this project, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), for their unending support in this process.

Dr Alejandro Iza
IUCN Environmental Law Centre

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