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ECONOMIC CRITERIA FOR THE MULTILATERAL DISTRIBUTION OF AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION FUNDS*

Joseph C. Cooper

Deputy Director, Resource Economics Division, Economic Research Service (United States Department of Agriculture), 1800 M Street, NW, Washington DC 20036-5831

Abstract: Enough concern has developed internationally over the need to conserve agricultural genetic resources that a multilateral system of access and benefit sharing with regards to key crops has been proposed by the United Nations, including suggestions for funding conservation of agricultural genetic resources in developing countries. This chapter addresses the question of what is the most economically efficient method of distributing the funds among countries and world regions, given the available data. An overview of the economics of investment in agricultural genetic resources conservation along with a theoretical dynamic model is presented. Next, a proxy indicator for regional allocation of conservation funds is developed. Finally, mechanisms for in situ conservation are proposed.

Key words: agricultural production; agriculture; biodiversity; centers of diversity; current value Hamiltonian; in situ conservation; International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

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