Dr Daniel Robinson

Dr Daniel Robinson

Dr Daniel Robinson

Teaching Coordinator & Senior Lecturer

Contact details

Phone: (02) 9385 9809
Email: d.robinson@unsw.edu.au


Room 360,  Level 3 
Morven Brown Building (C20)
Kensington Campus, UNSW


Dr Daniel Robinson has a background in human geography, environmental science and environmental law. Daniel's research focuses on the regulation of nature and knowledge. His papers and books cover themes including 'biopiracy', access and benefit-sharing relating to biological resources, appropriation and regulation of Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous/customary laws and biocultural protocols, ethical biotrade, political ecology, environmental policy and management. Daniel also has an interest in the environmental and social implications of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade rules, and has several papers/chapters on the negotiation politics of these forums.

On these issues, Daniel has acted as a researcher and consultant for the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and with their joint project with UNCTAD, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF), the German development implementation agency (GIZ), AusAid and Department of Environment, the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, amongst others. Since 2014 Dr Robinson has been a Research Fellow with the IP and Innovation team at ICTSD, and working on a book following the WIPO IGC on IP and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore.

Since 2012 the GIZ led ABS Capacity-Development Initiative has worked with Daniel to help implement the Nagoya Protocol on ABS in the Pacific. The ABS Initiative in 2012 (with AusAID funding, DSEWPaC and SPREP support) commissioned Daniel to analyse existing bioprospecting and biotrade activities including the following cases:
The Cook Islands Medical Technologies (CIMTECH) and Koutu Nui agreement,
The International Cooperative Biodiversity Group (ICBG) Project between the University of Utah and the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG),
The Santo 2006 Global Biodiversity Survey, Vanuatu, and
The Mamala case at the Faleolupo community in Samoa. The case studies are outlined in: ABS Capacity Development Initiative: The Pacific

Prior to gaining his PhD he worked in a range of positions including environmental consulting (environmental assessment and contaminated land, air and water), as a natural resources officer for Sydney Water, and as a research intern for Sutherland Council looking at housing sustainability indices.

Current Roles:

Program Authority of the Masters of Environmental Management at UNSW (since 2010)

Research Fellow, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Geneva

Member, Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture (ACIPA)

Research Associate at the NGO Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment

Co-convenor, Legal Geography Study Group, Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG)

Regular support person/consultant, ABS Capacity Development Initiative, Pacific

Centre member, Center for Ecosystem Sciences (CES), UNSW.

  • Dr Daniel Robinson
  • Dr Daniel Robinson


Program Authority: Masters of Environmental Management

IEST5002: Tools for Environmental Management
IEST5007: Environment and Development
IEST7400: Social Science for Environmental Management Fundamentals

Research Interests

  • Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property
  • Trade and environment/biodiversity (Biotrade)
  • Environmental Policy and Management
  • Legal Geography
  • Political Ecology
  • Biodiscovery Access and Benefit-sharing
  • Thailand
  • Pacific


Robinson, D., Roffe, P. Abdel-Latif, A. (eds) (forth, 2016) Protecting Traditional Knowledge: The Future of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on IP and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. Routledge, Oxon.

Robinson, D. (2015) Biodiversity, Access and Benefit-Sharing: Global Case Studies. Routledge/Earthscan, Oxon. OUT NOW! Order on Routledge

Robinson, D. (2010) Confronting Biopiracy: Cases, Challenges and International Debates. Routledge/Earthscan, Oxon. Now published in paperback.

Selected Peer Reviewed Articles and Chapters

Robinson, D.F. and Raven, M. (forth. 2016) 'Identifying and Preventing Biopiracy in Australia: Patent Landscapes and Legal Geographies for Plants with Indigenous Australian uses' Australian Geographer, accepted and forthcoming.

Robinson, D.F. (forth. 2016) 'Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Diversity' in Morand, S. (ed) Biodiversity: Challenges in a changing Southeast Asian environment, Routledge, Oxon.

Robinson, D.F. and Chiarolla, C. (forth. 2016) 'The role of databases, contracts, and codes of conduct' in Robinson, D., Roffe, P. Abdel-Latif, A. (eds) (forth, 2016) Protecting Traditional Knowledge: The Future of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on IP and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. Routledge, Oxon.

Robinson, D.F. and Forsyth, M. (forth 2016) 'People, Plants, Place and Rules: The Nagoya Protocol in Pacific Island Countries' Geographical Research (Legal Geography special issue, accepted, doi: 10.1111/1745-5871.12178. pp1-12

Bavikatte, K. S. and Robinson, D.F. (2016) 'The Heart of Greeness: Putting Peoplehood at the Centre of the Green Economy' in Kohli, K. and Manju, M. (eds) The Business Interest in the Environmental CrisisSage, London. 

Bavikatte, K.S., Robinson, D.F., and Oliva, M.J. (2015) 'Biocultural Community Protocols: Dialogues on the Space Within', IK: Other Ways of Knowing vol 1(2): 1-31. Available here

Masud, S., Merson, J. and Robinson, D.F. (2016) 'Adaptating a holistic approach to flood risk management in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Region' Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 59(6): 1126-1147.

Robinson, D.F. and Drozdzewski, D. (Online 2015) 'Hybrid identities: juxtaposing multiple identities against the 'authentic' Moken' Identities, DOI10.1080/1070289X.2015.1070730

Parfitt, C. and Robinson, D.F. (2015) 'Trade-Related Intellectual Property: Implications for the Global Seed Industry, Food Sovereignty and Farmer's Rights' in Robinson, G. and Carson, D. (eds) Handbook on the Globalization of Agriculture, Edward Elgar, London, pp291-308.

Drozdzewski, D., and Robinson, D.F., (2015) Care-work on fieldwork: taking your own children into the field,Children’s Geographies, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp372-378.

Robinson, D. (2014) 'Business and Biodiversity: Towards Sustainable Use Value Chains' ICTSD BioRes, Volume 8, Number 10, 27 November 2014.

Robinson, D. (2014) 'Nagoya Protocol in the Spotlight with CBD meet ahead' ICTSD BioRes, Volume 8, Number 8, 30 September 2014.

Robinson, D.F., Drozdzewski, D. and Kiddell, L. (2014) ‘“You can’t change our ancestors without our permission”: Cultural Perspectives on Biopiracy.’ In Fredrikksson, M. and Arvanitakis, J. (eds) Piracy – Leakages of Modernity. Litwin Books, Sacramento CA.

Robinson, D. F. (2013), Legal Geographies of Intellectual Property, ‘Traditional’ Knowledge and Biodiversity: Experiencing Conventions, Laws, Customary Law, and Karma in Thailand. Geographical Research, 51: 375–386.

Bartel, R., Graham, N., Jackson, S., Prior, J. H., Robinson, D. F., Sherval, M. and Williams, S. (2013), Legal Geography: An Australian Perspective. Geographical Research, 51: 339–353.

McDuie-Ra, D., Robinson, D.F., and Kaewmahanin, J. (2013) 'Spatial Dysfunction in Post-Tsunami Baan Lion: Taking the Moken Beyond Vulnerability and Tradition' Geoforum, 48: 145-155.

Robinson, D. (2012) ‘Gains and Challenges in Access and Benefit-Sharing: Lessons from National Systems’ in Conservation in a Crowded World: Case studies from the Asia Pacific. Eds. J. Merson, R. Cooney, and P. Brown. Sydney: UNSW Press, 277-298.

Kalpage, S. Merson, J. and Robinson, D. (2012) 'Landscape-based Conservation and Sustainable Resource Use in the Developing World: A Case Study from Sri Lanka.' in Conservation in a Crowded World: Case studies from the Asia Pacific. Eds. J. Merson, R. Cooney, and P. Brown. Sydney: UNSW Press, 16-33.

Robinson, D. (2012) ‘Biopiracy and the Innovations of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ in Drahos, P. and Frankel, S. (eds) Indigenous Peoples’ and Innovation: Intellectual Property Pathways to Development. ANU E-Press, pp73-90.

Robinson, D. (2011) ‘Local Agricultural and Environmental Knowledge: Working with Thai Institutes and Communities’ in Jennings J., Packham R., Woodside D. Eds. Shaping Change: Natural Resource Management, Agriculture and the Role of Extension. Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN), Australia. ISBN 978-0-9577030-7-0. pp102-108.

Kabir Bavikatte and Daniel F. Robinson, ‘Towards a People’s History of the Law: Biocultural Jurisprudence and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing’, 7/1 Law, Environment and Development Journal (2011), p. 35
Available at: http://www.lead-journal.org/content/11035.pdf

Robinson, D. And Gibson, C. (2011) ‘Governing Knowledge: Discourses and Tactics of the European Union in Trade-Related Intellectual Property Negotiations’ Antipode: a radical journal of Geography, 43 (5) 1883-1910.

Zhang, C. and Robinson, D., Wang, J., Liu, J., Liu, X., and Tong, L. (2011) ‘Factors Influencing Farmers’ Willingness to Participate in the Conversion of Cultivated Land to Wetland Program in Sanjiang Nature Reserve, China’ Environmental Management, 47(1): 102-120.
Robinson, D. And Tobin, B. (2010) ‘Dealing with Traditional Knowledge under the ABS Protocol’ Bridges Trade BioRes Review. Nagoya Special Edition, October, 4(3): 8-10.  

Robinson, D. (2010) ‘Locating Biopiracy: Geographically and Culturally Situated Knowledges’ Environment and Planning A. 42(1): 38-56

Robinson, D. (2010) ‘Sui Generis Systems for Plant Variety Protection and Traditional Knowledge in Asia.’ In Melendez-Ortiz, R.  and Roffe, P. (ed) Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development: Development Agendas in a Changing World, Edward Elgar, London, ISBN 9781848446458, pp 235-270.

Kuanpoth, J. & Robinson, D. (2009) ‘Geographical Indications Protection: The Case of Thailand and Jasmine Rice’, Intellectual Property Quarterly. No 3, 2009. pp288-310.

Robinson, D. and Kuanpoth, J. (2009) ‘The Traditional Medicines Predicament: A Case Study of Thailand’, in Journal of World Intellectual Property. 11(5/6): 375-403

Robinson, D. and Edwards, D. (2009) ‘Sustainable Housing Design: Measurement, Motivation and Management in Sutherland Shire, Sydney, Australia’ Environment and Planning B. pp336-354.

Robinson, D. (2008) 'Sui generis plant variety protection systems: liability rules and non-UPOV systems of protection' in Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice 3 (10): 659-655

Robinson, D. (2008) ‘Beyond “protection”: Promoting traditional knowledge systems in Thailand’ in Gibson, J. (ed) Patenting Lives: Life Patents, Development and Culture. Ashgate, Aldershot. pp121-138.

Gibson, C. and Robinson, D. ‘Creative Networks in Regional Australia’, in (2004) Media International Australia: Culture and Policy, Vol 112, pp.83-100.

Reviews, Reports and Discussion Papers

Robinson,D.F. Book Review: 'TRIPS and Developing Countries: Towards a new IP World Order?' by Ghidini et al. (eds) (2014) Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, in Geographical Research, 2015, Vol 53(1): 111-113.

Robinson, D. ‘Towards Access and Benefit-Sharing Best Practice: Pacific Case Studies.’ DSEWPAC, Canberra and GIZ, Eschborn, Germany (2012).

Robinson, D. And Defrene, E. (2011) ‘Argan: A Case study on ABS?’ Union for Ethical Biotrade, presented at the Beauty of Sourcing with Respect conference in Paris, 6 May 2011.

Robinson, D. (2010)  ‘Traditional Knowledge and Biological Product Derivative Patents: Benefit-Sharing and Patent Issues Relating to Camu Camu, Kakadu Plum and Açaí Plant Extracts – a discussion paper’, United Nations University Traditional Knowledge Inititative (UNU-TKI).

Robinson, D. (Oct. 2009) ‘Biopiracy Concerns Heat Up over Chilli PepperBridges Trade BioRes Review.

Savita Mullapudi and Robinson, D. (ed) (2009) Towards a Balanced Sui Generis Plant Variety Protection System for Developing Countries. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York. 33pp URL: http://www.undp.org/poverty/topics7_intellectual_property.shtml

 Robinson, D. (March 2007) Exploring Components and Elements of Sui Generis Systems for Plant Varieties Protection and Traditional Knowledge in Asia. ICTSD-UNCTAD and IDRC, Geneva. 60pp. At: http://www.iprsonline.org


‘WIPO Seminar Looks At Protection Of TK, Genetic Resources Across Borders’, IP Watch, 25 June 2015. http://www.ip-watch.org/2015/06/25/wipo-seminar-looks-at-protection-of-tk-genetic-resources-across-borders/ and also ‘Shared Genetic Resources And Traditional Knowledge: National, Regional Efforts’here

‘Bio-piracy: US companies patenting extract from the Kakadu plum’ SBS2 TV, The Feed, Monday 27 April 2015 http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/434939971550/Bio-piracy-US-companies-patenting-extract-from-the

'Favourite Kimberley Bush Foods and Medicines Targeted by Bio-Pirates' ABC Radio Kimberleys with Vanessa Mills, 5 February 2015.

Jorge Cabrera Medaglia, Daniel Robinson , Manuel Ruiz Muller (2014) ‘El Protocolo de Nagoya y su impacto para América Latina y el Caribe’ (Impact of the Nagoya Protocol on Latin America and the Caribbean) Puentes Volume 15 - Number 9, 17 November 2014

ICTSD (contribution includes Robinson) 'Nagoya Protocol to Enter into Force in October' 18 July 2014, Bridges BioRes News, ICTSD Geneva.

'Databanken das alten Wissens' (Databases of Traditional Knowledge) Le Monde Diplomatique, 13 June 2014.

'The Kakadu plum controversy', 14 Dec 2010. ABC Radio National Interview on The Law Report.

'Patent Fights Erupt over Kakadu Plum', 4 Dec 2010, Sydney Morning Herald article.

International Patent on Kimberley Plant Extract’, 20 May 2010 (Thursday). Midday interview (12:05) ‘Mornings with Vanessa Mills’, ABC Radio Kimberley.

Kakadu Plum Patent’, 17 May 2010 (Monday ). Morning interview with ABC Radio National ‘Bush Telegraph’, 11am

PhD Supervison

Sanjay Kalpage (Thesis Conferred, now working for International Fund for Agricultural Development - IFAD, South Africa) - Landscape-base conservation approaches in the developing world: The case for managed elephant ranges in Sri Lanka.

Rebecca Cross (Thesis Conferred, now lecturing at Sydney University) - Conversations with Farmers: Agri-cultural practice change and the farming ‘innovator’

Nahid Sultana (Thesis completed) - Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts and Coastal Zone Management in Bangladesh

Thanh Pham (submitted) - Catchment management in Vietnam

Melissa Sinclair (near completion, working on NERP projects in Cape York)- Biocultural rights and environmental justice: Working with the Southern Wik in Aurukun (tentative title)

Shafaq Masud (near completion) - Participatory monitoring for water resource management: planning for climate change in Western Sydney

Melissa Vogt - Political economic factors influencing coffee certification

Pratistha Tamrakar (MPhil, thesis completed, awaiting conferral) - Community forests and water quality in Lamatar district of Nepal

Recent Seminars

Robinson, D. ‘Unsettling sovereignties over nature: materialities, boundaries and property relations’ at Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG), ANU Canberra, July 2015.

Robinson, D. ‘Transboundary Genetic Resources and TK in Australasia and the Pacific’ WIPO Seminar on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions: Regional, National and Local Experiences - 25-7 June, 2015 (Geneva, Switzerland) see video Wednesday Morning about 1 hour 30 mins in, HERE

Robinson, D. 19 September 2014. 'IP, Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge' at The WIPO Development Agenda +10 and Beyond, organised by ICTSD, held at WMO, Geneva.

Robinson, D. 28 August 2014. 'Co-producing Beauty and Respect: The Moroccan Argan Case' at Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers Imperial College London.

Robinson, D. 26-27 November 2013. Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol: An Update on Progress in the Pacific. Held by the GIZ led Multi-Donor ABS-Capacity Development Initiative, the UN CBD Secretariat, SPREP, and UNDP-GEF. Suva, Fiji.

Robinson, D. 18-22 November 2013. National Consultation Workshops on Access and Benefit Sharing. Avarua, Cook Islands.

Robinson, D. and Drozdzewski, D. 28 August 2013. 'Nomads no more? Post-Tsunami Settlement, Livelihoods and Identities of the Moken in Thailand.' Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference. University College London.

Robinson, D. 22 & 23 November 2012. 'Prior Informed Consent and Traditional Knowledge' and 'Examples of Mutually Agreed Terms from the Pacific' at the Oceania Biodiscovery Forum, Brisbane.

Robinson, D. 2012. ‘Access and Benefit-Sharing Case Studies in the Pacific’ Pacific Region Nagoya Protocol on ABS Capacity Building Workshops. 19-22 March, Nadi, Fiji, and 22-24 May, Asau, Samoa. Organised by AusAID and DSEWPAC, the GIZ led multi-donor ABS Capacity Development Initiative, and SPREP.

Robinson, D. 12 Sept 2012. 'Sustainability, Science Policy and Societal Benefits: On the Biodiscovery Trail' Keynote at the Science Teachers Association of NSW Annual Conference, Sydney.

Robinson, D. 30 March 2012. ‘Variation in Plant Variety Protection Laws in Asia: A Response to Food Security Concerns?’ Law and the Future of Food Conference, National Library of Australia, Canberra.

Robinson, D. 5 May 2011, ‘Argan: An Access and Benefit Sharing Case Study?’ The Beauty of Sourcing with Respect Conference, Union for Ethical BioTrade, Paris. 

Robinson, D. 10 December 2010, ''Traditional Knowledge and Biological Derivative Patents: Benefit Sharing and Issues Relating to Camu Camu, Kakadu Plum and Acai Plant Extracts.’ Trade, Intellectual Property and the Knowledge Assets of Indigenous Peoples: The Developmental Frontier, Conference at Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington.

Robinson, D. April 2010, Contributions on Traditional Medicines in Asia. World Health Organization (WHO), ICTSD-UNCTAD and EU funded Asian Dialogue on Technology Transfer for Local Manufacturing Capacity of Drugs and Vaccines, Kuala Lumpur.