Environmental Studies Program

 

Date of this Version

Spring 5-2011

Abstract

Bioprospecting is a controversial issue, and anthropologists and other scientists are quick to take sides. The idea of large corporations pumping money into conservation and development programs, while developing what could be the latest life-saving drug simply sounds too good to be true, and often times is. However, if all parties work together and proceed with caution, these benefits could become more than a fantasy. Looking at case studies from Costa Rica, India, South Africa and Panama this paper attempts to find patterns among successful bioprospecting agreements and note shortcomings and identify risks. This information will be used to suggest how indigenous communities can maximize benefits while protecting their rights in bioprospecting relationships.