At first sight, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) appears to be an important contribution to the conservation of biological diversity. Moreover, it could be perceived as offering a new direction for conservation strategies because, compared to earlier agreements, a variety of ecological, social and economic aspects are taken into account, creating one of the most comprehensive environmental agreements of the past century. In recent years, however, the ambivalent character of the Convention has become ever more evident. Indeed, some of the most important challenges (i.e. the integration of different aims, national implementation and its relationship to other agreements) are still far from being resolved. Above all, it becomes obvious that the CBD, in general, expresses a tendency towards a view of biodiversity which is primarily concerned with its economic utility and (exchange) value. The frequent accusation is that the CBD has even accelerated the commercialisation of biological diversity and thus contributes less to its conservation and more to its marketing. The problem cannot be grasped, however, with an isolated appraisal of

the Convention, for it concerns the entire context of different international agreements and negotiation processes. Only if their interplay and the multitude of their mutual tensions are examined, can an assessment of the actual regulating effects be possible. Only then can it be understood in what way post-Fordist relationships with nature in the field of biological diversity are regulated by a political institutional framework and what this framework actually means. Furthermore, it must be clarified that post-Fordist relationships with nature are created and formed in a specific way with the support of just such a framework (and not with economic-technological strategies alone). The CBD was signed, in a complex and difficult negotiation situation, in

the run-up to the UN Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (on the negotiation process see Sa´nchez/Juma 1994; Swanson 1997; Arts 1998; McGraw 2002). It was originally conceived as an ‘‘umbrella convention’’ which was to align the many already existing agreements on the protection of species (e.g. the Convention on International Trade with Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and

Flora) and make them more efficient. But in the course of the negotiations up to 1992 and in its further development after the first conference of the convention parties, the CBD increasingly changed its appearance. While in the first drafts for a framework agreement, which had been submitted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in the late 1980s, distribution conflicts and their regulation (i.e. the regulation of technology transfer, of benefit-sharing etc.) did not yet play any great role (IUCN 1989; Arts 1998), this changed increasingly in the negotiations on the CBD in the run-up to the Rio conference in 1992. The text of the CBD, which was passed at that conference, can only be understood adequately if economic aspects and the distribution conflict over the use of genetic resources are taken into account. The reasons for this are complex. Certainly, of central importance is the CBD’s specific character of compromise as well as the economic interest in genetic resources which had significantly increased during the late 1980s. The idea of the ‘‘reconciliation’’ of ‘‘North’’ and ‘‘South’’ and of ‘‘ecology’’ and ‘‘economy’’, which characterises the concept of sustainable development, shapes the CBD to a particularly high degree. It is precisely for this reason that the Convention makes evident the pitfalls contained in this concept. In analysing these shortcomings both the limits of this double ‘‘reconciliation’’ and the definite effects of the international institutions which try to translate this model into action are unveiled (see also the contributions in Go¨rg/Brand 2002; Brand/Go¨rg 2007 and Conca et al. 2007). In the following the assumption advocated by many observers will be

closely scrutinised, according to which the CBD is naturally opposed to processes of the economisation of social relationships and the institutions which support this – particularly the agreements within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the neoliberal restructuring of social relationships as a whole (IIED 2001; Ling/Khor 2001; and the assessment in many of our interviews). According to this position, in the CBD and in the other agreements signed in the Rio process (particularly Agenda 21), interests in the protection of nature and of weaker actors are taken into consideration. This is without any doubt the case. However, questions remain as to how the different processes are articulated, with each other as well as regarding the actual relevance of these international agreements for local actors. If the CBD is to be examined in the following as an example of the

internationalisation of the state, it will be done by means of a detailed examination of interests and political strategies which are condensed in those aforementioned institutions. In other words, it is not only considered as an instrument for solving problems or for guaranteeing global relationships of power and dominance, but also as a terrain on which different actors struggle for their interests. By taking the double position of international institutions as regulating authorities and as an expression of global relationships of power into account, the role of the CBD can be appraised in

a more precise manner. The central issue concerns the specific relationship between conservation and use. As we shall see, very specific ideas and practices exist, each representing different mixtures of protection and utilisation and each partially interconnecting – at times surprisingly – but at the same time, also standing in a relationship of tension to one another. Our argument is that the CBD itself tends, under post-Fordist neoliberal

conditions, to create a framework for the commercialisation of nature. Not even the CBD can escape from the valorisation paradigm which is central to post-Fordist relationships with nature. On the contrary, this paradigm is institutionalised in the CBD, although in a different way to that of the WTO agreements. At the same time, the commercialisation of nature is not a unilinear process but one which is characterised by social struggles and contradictions. This may allow weaker actors (e.g. Southern governments, NGOs or indigenous peoples) to bring their interests to bear in the negotiations and to be at least partially considered in the compromises. However, it must be examined exactly how this occurs as well as how this process allows a degree of manoeuvrability for certain interests. In doing so, it must be taken into consideration that in part, the interests of the different actors are first constituted, or further developed, during the negotiations and the implementation processes of the CBD as well as in light of the experiences in the different countries. This becomes especially clear in the questions as to how access and benefit-sharing are to be ensured and what strategies are used by different actors as a reaction to this. At the centre of the study are the processes connected with the regulation

of access to biological diversity and the fair sharing of the benefits from its utilisation. The negotiations on the Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of its Utilization, which began in Bonn in October 2001 and were signed in April 2002 at the sixth conference of the signatory states in The Hague, as well as the following negotiations of an International Regime on Access and Benefitsharing right after the approval of the Bonn Guidelines, are interesting examples of the process of the constitution of interests and their condensation in an international agreement. A further example is the Like-Minded Group of Megadiverse Countries, which was formed at the beginning of 2002 and whose appearance on the international stage was perceived as jeopardising the solutions achieved in the Bonn Guidelines. Closely connected with the questions of access and benefit-sharing are issues such as the safeguarding of intellectual property, the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and finally, of course, the issue of nature protection. It is important to us, first, to follow and understand more precisely the international processes within the CBD: what interests are articulated there and how are they condensed? In addition, the CBD should be placed in relationship to other international agreements; particularly the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Agreement on TradeRelated Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) within the WTO. Both

will be briefly discussed here and will be dealt with in their own right in the following chapters. The following section will present a brief summary of the issue of biodi-

versity and the problems connected to it. This will be done by looking at the development of the CBD and the most important regulations associated with it. Following this, important interest groups and their positions will be outlined and some central lines of conflict presented. It is remarkable in the context of the CBD that central concepts and measures based upon them are still characterised by considerable uncertainty and are part of the political disputes. This is reflected in the major role of experts but also in the fact that the argument of uncertainty is itself repeatedly brought forward in order to strengthen certain policies. Neither the exact extent of the erosion of biological diversity nor its ecological, economic or social consequences can be determined precisely. Moreover, the character of the problem – in terms of what the issue actually is; what is central and what is arbitrary? – is anything but clear. This is directly connected with the central concept of biological diversity or biodiversity, which does not in any way represent a precisely defined scientific foundation for the entire process.