Challenges and prospects of implementing the access and benefit sharing regime of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Africa: the case of Ethiopia

  • Fikremarkos Merso Birhanu
Original Paper


An analysis of the implementation of the access and benefit sharing (ABS) regime under the Convention on Biological Diversity and other related regimes in Africa and, in particular, Ethiopia, reveals the following challenges: (a) centralization of power in the hands of the federal government with little attention to regional and local governments; (b) lack of effective mechanism for the participation of communities in ABS; (c) generality and vagueness of the regulatory regime and lack of regulations and guidelines for the effective implementation of the regulatory regime, (c) poor drafting of ABS Agreements; and (d) lack of effective enforcement and follow-up mechanisms for ABS Agreements. Nonetheless, despite the shortcomings, the article suggests that Ethiopia’s experience provides an important lesson for other countries confronted with the challenge of designing fair genetic resource governance at the national level and, more importantly, shows the challenges poor countries face in developing and implementing ABS Laws and in negotiating, concluding and enforcing ABS Agreements.


Access and benefit sharing Genetic resources Convention on Biological Diversity intellectual property rights Prior informed consent 



Access and benefit sharing


Convention on Biological Diversity


Genetic resource


Intellectual property right


International treaty on plant genetic resources


Prior informed consent


Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia

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