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Performing Compliance and Assessing Enforcement of the Nagoya Protocol: Understanding the legal regulatory environment facing the expansion of the native plants industry into foreign markets

Project Description

The University of Queensland led Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ITTC) for Uniquely Australian Foods (IC180100045) aims to transform the native Food and Agribusiness Sector through development of selected crops, foods and ingredients using an Indigenous governance group to oversee the process of converting Traditional Knowledge into Branded Products.

Native foods represent a major opportunity for premium Australian products in both domestic and export markets, capitalising on consumer interest in the provenance and traditional heritage characteristics of foods. The outcomes of the Training Centre will include the testing of market opportunities, the development of appropriate social and business models, and the identification of future opportunities for Uniquely Australian Foods. Economic and quality of life benefits through job creation and benefit sharing arrangements will be secured for Indigenous communities through sustainable business models which will help to Close the Gap, and the development of supply chain partnerships to reduce the risks involved in taking products to market.

This PhD project –focussed on the regulation of the native Australian Food and Agribusiness sector - will form part of the Training Centre as a collaboration between The University of Queensland and our partners.

The Role
There is an opportunity for a highly motivated PhD student to join the QAAFI team within the Training Centre aiming to develop the Australian native food industry. They will work directly with indigenous and non-indigenous enterprises and be involved in the various activities of the centre. The position will interact with the project collaborators in Australia and may visit collaborators in the USA.

Research Area
One of the key objectives of the Training Centre is to generate insight into the emerging domestic and export markets for native Australian plant products and to identify legally and socially appropriate business models for this industry. This PhD project will contribute to this objective of the Training Centre through research that maps how compliance with and enforcement of the Nagoya Protocol is carried out in different jurisdictions that are significant to the Australian native plants industry.

The Nagoya Protocol, implemented in 2014 as a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity, is one of the primary international legal frameworks regulating access to and utilization of non-human biological resources. The primary aim of the Protocol is to ensure that the benefits from research or commercialization of biological resources are fairly and equitably shared with provider communities. Such guarantees, it is believed, will contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity around the world. Currently, 118 countries are party to the Protocol, each of which has latitude in how best to incorporate Nagoya’s requirements into domestic legislation. Thus, while there is broad agreement with the Protocol’s aim, there is little consistency or clarity about how to achieve or demonstrate compliance. This is particularly problematic for entities that work across jurisdictions. In part, this is due to the fact that each contracting jurisdiction has the capacity to define what compliance looks like locally. Furthermore, this is exacerbated as it is unclear who or what entity is tasked with checking and enforcing compliance. This project will explore on-going attempts to perform and assess compliance by a number of state and non-state entities in Australia and in foreign jurisdictions that industry partners have identified as significant to their future business aspirations. In doing so, the student will use socio-legal, science and technology studies, and social science frameworks to develop a comparative research design.

Specifically, the HDR student will look at the role customs authorities play in policing the movement of agricultural products at national points of entry. Focusing on the Nagoya Protocol Certificates of Compliance and plant breeders rights protection, the project will look at the issues that customs agents face when examining perishable food products. The researchers plan to undertake a global study of key major ports in a range of countries relevant to the Australian native foods industry to identify trends, best practice and to make suggestions for policy reform.

Funding Notes

Applicants will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent. Basic expertise and experience is required in one or more of the following areas:
1. Social science mixed or qualitative methodologies,
2. Use of GIS or similar software to represent spatial data, and/or
3. Understanding of at least one academic discipline’s literature on the relationship between Indigenous peoples and plants.

ARC ITTC stipend PhD:
$34,013 per annum tax-free (2020 rate), indexed annually, for three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances.


For more information and to apply see:

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