Who Speaks for Whom?: A Look at Civil Society Accountability in Bioprospecting Debates in Mexico.

Abstract

In the early 1990s, in Mexico's state of Oaxaca, an organisation made up of four indigenous communities in the Sierra Juárez, the UZACHI, negotiated a bioprospecting contract with the multinational pharmaceutical company Sandoz. The local civil society (CS) actors directly involved in negotiating and carrying out the project consider their bioprospecting experience a positive one that could contribute significantly to the communities' longer term sustainable development process. In contrast, neighbouring community representatives and CS organisations, as well as NGOs of national and international scope, publicly condemn the initiative. In this article the UZACHI-Sandoz case is employed to illustrate the challenges associated with civil society accountability (CSA) in the context of a struggle for contested rights associated with biodiversity conservation and development. In looking at civil society's role in Mexico's debate around bioprospecting, it explores a number of questions that are raised regarding the way CS representation, responsibility, and voice are played out

Citation

Hughes, A. Who Speaks for Whom?: A Look at Civil Society Accountability in Bioprospecting Debates in Mexico. IDS Bulletin (2002) 33 (2) 1-8. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2002.tb00017.x]

Who Speaks for Whom?: A Look at Civil Society Accountability in Bioprospecting Debates in Mexico.

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