Over the past years, two passions have guided the academic efforts of the distinguished Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Reto M. Hilty as Director of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition: the unfolding of the economic and innovative potential of Latin America and the solution of grand challenges to humanity. Few topics fit so well into the intersection of these endeavors as the protection of genetic resources. The unique biodiversity of Latin American countries not only needs to be protected in order for environmental goals to be achieved, but it also provides them with great potential for innovation and use of technologies. The realization of this untapped potential, however, requires appropriate regulations. By assigning countries sovereign rights over genetic resources and supporting the sharing of the benefits that arise from their use, the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol have opened an important gateway to this. Nevertheless, its objectives have not been achieved in the last decades. This article presents some of the main factors determining the failure of these international instruments and analyzes regulatory alternatives at the regional and plurilateral levels that countries interested in obtaining a fair and equitable benefit sharing for the use of their resources may adopt.
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