Resilient Seeds: Understanding Access and Benefit-sharing Mechanisms in Law and Policy through the prism of Resilience
Screenshot 2022-08-22 115800

November 2016


A thesis submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science, Human Security, Aarhus University, Denmark. This thesis investigates Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) mechanisms for genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Access and Benefit-Sharing is deeply embedded in international law. Several international agreements regulate the fair and equitable sharing of benefits. Alongside the directly applicable treaties other regimes of international law guide its implementation too, namely international environmental law, intellectual property law, and farmers’ rights. In order to understand ABS’s place in this international framework it is explored as a tool to increase resilience of socio-economic systems. Although direct monetary benefits are not certain for communities engaging in ABS, non-monetary benefits such as awareness and education can be realised. This thesis centres on high-altitude farming communities in Nepal, where the local seed systems are investigated. The implications of ABS for farming communities are developed by mapping the needs and constraints of farmers in Nepali mountain communities. ABS fits in with the needs of the system and the farmers, but it is concluded that a careful implementation on a fitting scale is necessary. This thesis proposes biocultural marketing of specific varieties as a way for communities to start engaging with ABS. By these means it is concluded that ABS is distributionally just, and positively impacts resilience, farmers’ rights, and food security.