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  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: December 2018

7 - Biopiracy Flashpoints and Increasing Tensions over ABS in Canada

from Part II - Hurdles to ABS
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Summary

This chapter uses selected Canadian case studies to explore the use and exploitation of genetic resources and associated Indigenous or traditional knowledge in Canada; first, to demonstrate that biopiracy is a felt and increasing reality in Canada, and second, to interrogate the potentials and pitfalls of existing Canadian access and benefit-sharing (ABS) policy, especially with regard to its failure to incorporate Indigenous peoples. It argues that a combination of progressive research and entrepreneurship on the one hand, and the opening up of Canada’s Arctic region and its bounty of marine genetic resources on the other, will only produce new tensions over ABS. This wealth of genetic resources, the policy imperative of reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and the urgent need to sustain biodiversity and combat climate change will heighten existing tensions between Indigenous peoples and local communities and other potential ABS stakeholders in the Canadian context. Canada’s position as both a producer and user of genetic resources will therefore become more pronounced. Consequently, the dynamic between researchers, industry and Indigenous peoples will become increasingly fraught and problematic unless urgent steps are taken to implement an Indigenous-sensitive ABS policy in close partnership with Indigenous peoples across Canada.

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