Forging a New Global Commons Introducing common property into the global genetic resource debate.
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis provides an analysis of recent attempts to regulate the governance of genetic resources through the initiation of new global commons regimes. These attempts have arisen out of a combination of the growing recognition of genetic resources' value and global nature; a new resurgence in support for the common property paradigm; and, during a period in which the world is becoming increasingly globalised, with many governance competencies moving to the supranational level. They can be viewed as part of a broader effort to proffer the common property approach as a legitimate alternative in the property regime debate: a debate that has increasingly become trapped in the public-private dichotomy at the dawn of the twenty-first century. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the success of these attempts, and offer suggestions about how future attempts might be more successful. While there are a multitude of books, articles, opinion pieces and media reports produced that concern themselves with property theory, intellectual property theory, the efficacy or morality of applying property regimes to living materials, and the threats and promises of globalisation, all of which influence the notion of a potential global genetic commons, relatively little has been written directly on the idea of applying global common property regimes to genetic resource governance issues. The first part of this thesis constructs a theory of a global genetic commons, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, while the second part tests this theory in order to analyse the outcomes of the recent attempts, and suggest directions for future research. The thesis finds that the conception of a global genetic commons is indeed a valid one, and that while not all attempts so far have been successful, the common property paradigm does offer valuable insights for the future governance of genetic resources at the global level.
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