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There is much current controversy over whether the rights to seeds or plant genetic resources should be owned by the private sector or be common property. This book addresses the legal and policy aspects of the multilateral seed management regime. First, it studies in detail the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the Treaty) in order to understand and identify its dysfunctions. Second, it proposes solutions - using recent developments of the "theory of the commons" - to improve the collective seed management system of the Treaty, a necessary condition for its member states to reach the overall food security and sustainable agriculture goals.
Redesigning the Global Seed Commons provides a significant contribution to the current political and academic debates on agrobiodiversity law and governance, and on food security and food sovereignty, by analyzing key issues under the Treaty that affect the design and implementation of regulatory instruments managing seeds as a commons. It also examines the practical, legal, political and economic problems encountered in the attempt to implement these obligations in contemporary settings. In particular, it considers how to improve the Treaty implementation by proposing ways for Contracting Parties to better reach the Treaty’s objectives taking a holistic view of the human-seed ecosystem. Following the tenth anniversary of the functioning the Treaty’s multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing, which is currently under review by its Contracting Parties, this book is well-timed to examine recent developments in the field and guide the current review process to design a truly Global Seed Commons.