How can genetic resources be "free" if pharmaceutical and seed companies are assigning ownership to such resources through intellectual property rights such as patents and plant breeder's rights? Why are the intellectual contributions of traditional healers or farmers not accorded the same significance? How can biologically rich countries from where genetic resources are sourced be compensated for conserving these biotic riches? And why should national sovereignty be recognized for natural resources such as oil and timber, but not for genetic and biochemical resources?
The attainment of the objective of biodiversity conservation requires foreign investment, joint research and commercial development, activities that will largely be undertaken by the private sector and not directly by the Contracting Parties to the Convention. Further, adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights is essential to investment, research and development.