Access and Benefit Sharing, Canadian and Aboriginal Research Ethics Policy after the Nagoya Protocol: Digital DNA and Transformations in Biotechnology
Forthcoming, JELP Volume 3, Issue 1 pp. 79-112
34 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2017
Date Written: 2017
Across the world, the manner in which researchers access genetic resources and associated knowledge of Indigenous and Local Communities (ILCs) is perceived to be problematic. This is due to inequitable practices that implicate asymmetrical power relations between researchers and other stakeholders with these communities. Not only are indigenous knowledge appropriated, ILCs’ conservation ethics in dealing with genetic resources are unrequited. Consequently, a responsive system for equitable access and benefit sharing (ABS) over the utilizations of genetic resources as a combination of economic, conservation and social justice strategy coalesced in the 2010 Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Article focuses on the ABS dynamic in the context of Aboriginal related research to determine whether extant Canadian research ethics framework requires recalibration pursuant to the emergent global ABS regime mainly symbolized in the Nagoya Protocol and the new challenges posed by current advances in biotechnology with specific regard to the digital DNA phenomenon. While both regimes do not directly pre-empt digital DNA and the malleability of data in research contexts, we conclude that they recognize the evolutionary character of research and knowledge transformations. We argue that they can be interpreted to accommodate the ABS imperatives in these and other emergent contexts. We shed light on how Canadian researchers can effectively navigate the research ethics framework in the Aboriginal contexts given regard to the global ABS regime and the transformations in biotechnology in the post-Nagoya ABS landscape.
Keywords: Access and Benefit Sharing, Indigenous Knowledge, Canada, Nagoya Protocol, Genetic Resources, Research Ethics, Digital DNA, Synthetic Biology, Tri-Council Policy
JEL Classification: K11, K49, K33, O31, O33, O34, Q3, Q58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation