The convention on biological diversity and agriculture: implications and unresolved debates

George B. Frisvold, Peter T. Condon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The Convention on Biological Diversity addresses two controversies that surround plant genetic resources (PGRs). One debate has been over property rights governing PGRs and the distribution of benefits from their use. The second has been over the adequacy of measures to maintain crop genetic diversity. This paper examines how these two debates are linked and reviews previous multilateral attempts to address them. The Convention signals wider international acceptance of stricter property rights over PGRs and the need for multilateral assistance for PGR conservation. However, current proposals to implement the Convention appear too limited in scope to achieve their stated conservation objectives, while several areas of controversy remain. These include debates over: (i) intellectual property protection for biological inventions; (ii) control over PGRs in international gene banks; (iii) the international biosafety protocol regulating biotechnology; (iv) mechanisms to finance PGR conservation; and (v) the allocation of funds between in situ and ex situ conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-570
Number of pages20
JournalWorld Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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