Many countries worldwide have ratified the Access to Benefit Sharing (ABS) of the Nagoya Protocol under the convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The ABS ultimately seeks to fulfil the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The ABS encourages opportunities to exploit genetic resources, so that benefits can be shared equally and fairly between knowledge holders and industrial companies. India has since the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992 granted over 1500 ABS applications; however the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has signed only 100 ABS agreements. While the ABS seem to pave the way forward to a win-win situation between the local communities and industrial companies, little is known of the impacts on local communities. The study will explore the ABS at a micro level for medicinal and aromatic plants exploited by corporations and their impact on the farmers, growers, and rural women. It will analyse 1) the factors that determine the attribution of benefits, 2) the short, long term impact of ABS on local communities, socio-economic conditions, social status, the retention of traditional knowledge, and resource sustainability, 3) and whether women access the ABS in a context mostly controlled by male panchayat. The results will influence other entrepreneurial models beyond the Indian case study, such as the cooperative model in Morocco which still struggles to implement the ABS and other European contexts where the ABS application remains unclear. The research will contribute to the current debate of the Access of Benefit Sharing, and its impacts at a local level. The Fellowship will deliver three publications, public outreach materials to avail this new field of enquiry to a wider academic and non-academic audience to resolve issues of social exclusion.
Rosa Maria Perez
Circulation and Place-Making