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The Economics of Information, Studiously Ignored in the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing


Economic thinking has been absent in all ten Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) despite its presence in the academic literature. Perhaps as a consequence of faithful reporting, economics is also absent in the otherwise excellent overview by Kamau et al of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing. By ignoring the abstraction that economics affords, ‘access and benefit sharing’ (ABS) has become needlessly complex and contentious. To resolve the issues so well identified by Kamau et al, we will apply the economics of information to ABS. What emerges is a radically different alternative to policymaking-as-usual. Key to our endeavor is a narrative that can penetrate the social sphere where ABS must achieve legitimacy.