Spring 2006 Course Description

Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Section Title: Biodiversity and the Law
Instructor(s): Antonio Benjamin
Course: P A 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
(previously Seminar in Topics in Public Policy)
Unique Number: 62495
Day & Time: Thursdays, 3:30 PM - 6:15 PM
Room: CCJ 3.306
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Notes: Same as Law 397S (27895); GRG 396T (36305); LAS 381 (39792)

This course fulfills requirements for the following specialization(s):

Description: The chief focus of this seminar is upon two general subjects: (1) the national and international legal protection of biodiversity; and (2) the protection of the Amazon Rain Forest. The main purpose of the seminar is to study the role of law and policy in ensuring the protection of biodiversity, after the UNCED (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992.

We will discuss in detail the importance and effectiveness of the Biodiversity Convention as well as its implementation in different jurisdictions.

The seminar is divided into four general parts: (1) an introduction to the UNCED and its results; (2) explores the basic international framework for the protection of biodiversity, including the Biodiversity Convention, the World Charter for Nature, CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) and the Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the West Hemisphere; (3) analyze the protection of biodiversity in the United States and the Amazon Rain Forest as a comparative study. The purpose of this comparative study is to discuss whether a number of legal objectives, principles, and instruments for the protection of biodiversity have equal application in jurisdictions that do not share the same level of economic, social, cultural, and political development.

If time allows, I would like to deal with the complex issue of the relationship between biodiversity and intellectual property rights and discuss some modern legal-economic instrument for the protection of biodiversity, such as deb-for-nature swaps.

There are no prerequisites. Students are not expected to have taken environmental law, international law, or comparative law. Previous knowledge in those areas would, however, be useful.

This is a writing seminar. Grades will be determined primarily on the basis of a final paper. The paper's topic will be selected by the student in consultation with the professor. Substantial weight will also be given to class participation.

Return to Spring 2006 Course Schedule