Bioprospecting in Colombia

by Mariah Tso

Biodiversity remains a largely unexplored aspect of the world’s ecosystems. Since the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), access to and jurisdiction over biological resources is now considered under the control of each State. Additionally, developing countries use bioprospecting, “the systematic pursuit, classification and research of new sources of chemical compounds, genes, proteins and other products that make up biological diversity and which have real or potential economic value”, to be scientifically and technologically competitive. Guiza et al. (2013) examine the effectiveness of bioprospecting policies in Colombia and the compliance of those policies with international treaties and guidelines. The authors examined the use of biological resource and genetic resource permits and how these permits have affected research groups in the field. They found that bioprospecting has become more common in the last few years, however the number of permits does not match the number of projects, suggesting missing information and possible illegal activities. In short, regulations have generated negative impacts for scientific research and that there is still no clear policy to promote biodiversity research and knowledge. Continue reading