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Ongoing Research Projects

1. Biodiversity’s genetic resources at the crossroads between property rights and public goods : what options for a sustainable agriculture and food security ?

Collegium de Lyon 2012-2013

With the collaborative support of the ERC « Lascaux » program and the Michel Serres Institute.

This project focuses on the legal regime of biodiversity’s genetic resources. It is part of a broader research question which aims achieving a better understanding of how natural resources’ exploitation and trade should be organized and managed in order to ensure optimal food security and sustainable agriculture on all continents. One of the key issues examined, therefore, is the ability of legal systems to provide a biodiversity’s genetic resources regime that takes into account both necessities : to feed the humanity and to conserve biodiversity.

Most of the existing legal regimes are actually based on the concept of “property”. For this reason, the proposed project will highlight the various ways in which this concept is defined by working on a comparative approach in several chosen territories across the world (in Europe, North America, and Central America).

This theoretical approach will lead to rediscover the couple “property rights - public goods” in the light of market and non market values such as fundamental and human rights.

From theory to local level, the project will then focus on the legal regime of biodiversity’s genetic resources in Costa Rica. Because Costa Rica once set up a “sui generis” legal regime which reconciled environmental and intellectual property approaches, this country constitutes a favourable field of study. More specifically, we will seek to understand the ways in which international and regional agreements affect legal regimes on this subject in developing countries, with the case study of Costa Rica. In fact, the approaches to biodiversity’s genetic resources regulation in these treaties are quite different, if not actually conflicting. The proposed project will highlight the lack of connectivity between environmental and intellectual property requirements and will discuss their possible harmonization.

2. Dynamics and adaptive management of resources in the Rhône-Alpes region : a collective assessment articulating environmental-economic-policy issues in the agro-ecological transition.

Submitted in March 2012 to “Agrobiosphere” ANR program, 2012 edition.

Partners : LAMETA laboratory SupAgro Montpellier, ERC program « Lascaux » Nantes University, ISARA de Lyon and ENS de Lyon.

The project concentrates on an integrated resources-centred approach and ultimately targets “natural resources security”. The dogma still seems to be that the biosphere is part of the economy. We argue that humans are resource-minded, but wrongly resource-framed, making it difficult to act within the regenerative capacity of the biosphere. Food and energy resources are at high risk, with agriculture appearing at present as key to ecological, food, energy, employment equilibria, all combined. Surprisingly, little interdisciplinary research has been dedicated to such critical issues. This project should contribute to reliably linking scientists, economists, social groups and political authorities in the urgent task of a coordinated optimization of resources use and consumption through their integrated monitoring and management according to both territorial potential and various other constraints at economic, normative, institutional etc levels.
In addition, precision monitoring of current resources status and dynamics are pre-requisites in achieving more accurate and more coherent prospective studies and scenario building, implying an optimized management of uncertainties and/or risks. More specifically, precision data and tools will be developed by working at the regional scale in the first place with the Rhône-Alpes as test-region. By taking an integrated and integral approach to natural resources at such a scale, we anticipate that the intersect with several societal challenges and more global changes can be apprehended. In this context, the project concentrates on the following objectives.

(1) Characterizing and achieving the best possible understanding of a persistently confusing framing of the natural resources problematic across sectors by questioning the perception (at both individual and collective levels) which several groups and authorities/institutions have at present of the “natural capital” as a whole.

(2) Undertaking a transdisciplinary assessment of natural (renewable) resources used in agriculture lato sensu, human resources included, to define what needs to be monitored and measured, how such items should be measured, and who should measure and organize the generated information, so that a dynamic picture can be produced on a regular basis and delivered to decision makers and the society.

(3) Systematically linking resources metrics and tendencies to the corresponding governance / management, legal, normative, and financial contexts, instruments, and skills.

(4) Using the generated know-how to build an integral “natural resources toolkit”, as a coherent system of continuously monitoring, valuing and securing such resources.

The overall expected result is that the resources dynamics be understood, optimized and managed according to the specific territorial potential and the integrated technological and organizational tools and skills, so that the timing and the sequence of steps of the ecological transition be anticipated with the highest accuracy / lowest risk levels through a system of watch/vigilance, resources precision metrics, and conflict resolution expertise.

3. Le contrôle et la gestion des ressources naturelles à l’échelle régionale : une analyse comparative de la région Rhône-Alpes en France et de la région de Nord-Ouest en Roumanie Monitoring and management of natural resources at regional scale : a comparative analysis between Rhône-Alpes (France) and the North-West (Romania) regions.

Bilateral project France – Romania (submitted to the Hubert Curien / Brancusi program, June 2012)


Ce projet interdisciplinaire se concentre sur 3 objectifs visant l’approche et la maîtrise à l’échelle régionale des ressources naturelles spécifiques, avec deux terrains d’étude comparables géo-physiquement, mais très contrastés socio-économiquement : le Rhône-Alpes en France et la région Nord-Ouest en Roumanie. Le cadre socio-politique de cette étude est ciblé sur les étapes, les scénarii et les attendus de la Politique Agricole Commune (PAC) à échelle 2020 dans les deux régions-test.

Publié ou mis à jour le 3 juillet 2012