By Vanessa DanleyBioThis paper is a segment from the forthcoming article, Biopiracy in the Brazilian Amazon: Learning from International and Comparative Law Successes and Shortcomings to Help Promote Biodiversity Conservation in Brazil. Florida A&M University Law Review will publish the full article in their forthcoming journal on Environmental Law and Justice. For information about purchasing the full article, please contact [email protected] or fill out a Subscription Form.
Costa Rica is a small Central American country, with a land area of only 51,100 square kilometers (0.03% of the planet’s surface) and 589,000 square kilometers of territorial waters.1 Despite its small size, Costa Rica is one of the twenty countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world.2 There are more than 500,000 species found in the country, which represent nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide.3
To protect such rich biodiversity, Costa Rica created a comprehensive legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.4 Costa Rica is also a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and had implemented its provisions into domestic law with special attention to the benefit-sharing provision.5
In 1989, The National Biodiversity Institute (“INBio”) of Costa Rica was created to support the country’s conservation efforts and to promote sustainable development.6 INBio is a private, non-governmental, non-profit, public interest organization that works with different governmental institutions, universities, the private sector, and other domestic and international public and private organizations.7 Its philosophy is to conserve biodiversity through study, research and improvement of the people’s quality of life.8
INBio is considered to have broken new ground for bioprospecting contracts.9 It established research agreements for the study of chemical substances and genes present in plants, insects, and marine organisms and microorganisms, which may be utilized by the pharmaceutical, medical, biotechnology, cosmetics, food and agricultural industries.10