The Nagoya Protocol: who will reap the benefits?

Not another Copenhagen…..the world is breathing a sigh of relief as the 10th meeting of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity successfully agreed on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing. Although the meeting attracted well over 10,000 participants, very few people have heard about the convention and only a minute few understand the term “Access and Benefit-sharing”. This all goes back to the when the Convention was drafted and biological diversity was put under national sovereignty – previously it had been regarded as humanity’s common heritage. The idea behind it was that the poor, but bio-diverse countries of the south could benefit (read make profit) by providing access to the biodiversity poor, but rich northern countries who would then in return “share the benefits”.
Well, it seem as if this concept was dreadfully wrong, and has provided benefits only in a very few cases which have never real reached the people who have been conserving the biodiversity. I attended a meeting yesterday here in Delhi where one of the speakers expressed the opinion that it was time to reverse the stance of biological diversity being under national sovereignty and again classify it as common heritage, since all countries are interdependent on genetic resources and not one of them is autonomous.