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Bioprospecting in Antarctica and the Arctic. Common Challenges?

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AbstractBioprospecting is occurring in the Arctic and Antarctica. This paper considers evidence on the nature and scale of bioprospecting in the Polar Regions. The paper then aims to draw out some of the critical issues in this debate by examining recent developments in the context of the Antarctic Treaty System. After an introduction to the history of the debate on bioprospecting in the Antarctic context it examines the recent Report of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (‘ATCM’) Intersessional Contact Group to examine the issue of Biologocal Prospecting in the Antarctic Treaty Area tabled at ATCM XVII in Kiev in June 2008. The paper then concludes with some brief thoughts on the relevance of the Arctic experience to the debate in relation to Antarctica and whether or not there is an ‘Arctic Model’ for a response to the bioprospecting question in Antarctica. It is argued that rather than there being one Arctic model there is in fact a spectrum of models and experiences to choose from.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, University of New South WalesAustraliaUnited Nations University-Institute of Advanced


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