Sovereignty and international politics in the negotiation of the avian influenza Material Transfer Agreement
Indonesia's action in 2007 to withhold samples of avian influenza viruses was a declaration of sovereignty over biological resources. This assertion of sovereign rights resulted in conflicting international views which can be broadly characterised as a demonstration of the diverse perspectives between the developed and developing countries about the fair and equitable use of biological resources and the acknowledgment of sovereignty within that context. The relevant international agreements were drafted with the use of acceptable diplomatic language that hides the varied political views of the participants. The use of neutral language results in different interpretations of the final text; this is particularly relevant to the application of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Health Regulations to the sharing of virus samples. Within this political context the intended interpretation of the text becomes difficult to determine. This article illustrates the political conflicts in the context of the sharing of virus samples and benefits and determines that the likely resolution will be through political compromise.
Journal of Law and Medicine
Law not elsewhere classified