Associate Professor Daniel Robinson

Associate Professor

BSc Hons, G.Dip Env Law, PhD

School of Humanities & Languages


360 Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Environment Policy, Intellectual Property Law, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge, Indigenous Law, Human Geography
Tags: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander development, International trade issues not elsewhere classified, Justice and the Law, Conserving Pacific Peoples Heritage

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 negotiations, and has several papers/chapters on the negotiation politics of these forums.

On these issues, Daniel has acted as a researcher and policy advisor 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.



    Book Chapters

    • Robinson D;Raven M;Hunter J, 2018, 'The limits of ABS laws: Why gumbi gumbi and other bush foods and medicines need specific indigenous knowledge protections', in Biodiversity, Genetic Resources and Intellectual Property: Developments in Access and Benefit Sharing, pp. 185 - 207,
    • Robinson D, 2018, 'Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? A critical reflection on the WIPO IGC', in McManis C; Ong B (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Biodiversity and the Law, Routledge, Oxon, pp. 350 - 358,
    • Yuan J, 2017, '‘The ancestry land’: China’s pursuit of dominance in the south China sea', in Property, Place and Piracy, pp. 140 - 156,
    • Robinson D, 2017, 'Traditional knowledge and biocultural diversity', in Biodiversity Conservation in Southeast Asia: Challenges in a Changing Environment, pp. 33 - 46,
    • Robinson DF;Roffe P;Abdel-Latif A, 2017, 'Introduction: Mapping the evolution, state-of- play and future of the WIPO IGC', in Protecting Traditional Knowledge: The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, pp. 1 - 9,
    • Robinson D;Chiarolla C, 2017, 'The Role of Databases, Contracts and Codes of Conduct', in Robinson DF; Roffe P; Abdel-Latif A (ed.), Protecting Traditional Knowledge The Wipo Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, edn. 1, Routledge Research in International Environmental Law, Oxon, pp. 108 - 121,
    • Bavikatte SK;Robinson D, 2016, 'Putting Peoplehood at the Center of the Green Economy', in Kohli K; Menon M (ed.), Business Interests and the Environmental Crisis, Sage Publications Pvt. Limited, New Delhi, pp. 207 - 237
    • Parfitt CR;Robinson DF, 2015, 'Trade-related intellectual property: Implications for the global seed industry, food sovereignty and farmers' rights', in Handbook on the Globalisation of Agriculture, pp. 291 - 308,
    • Robinson DF;Drozdzewski D;Kiddell L, 2014, 'You can't change our ancestors without our permission: Cultural Perspectives on Biopiracy', in Fredriksson M; Arvanitakis J (ed.), Piracy: Leakages from Modernity, edn. 1, Litwin Books, LLC, Sacramento, CA, pp. 55 - 76,
    • Robinson DF, 2012, 'Potential gains and challenges from biodiversity access and benefit-sharing: lessons from case studies and national systems', in Merson J; Cooney R; Brown P (ed.), Conservation in a Crowded World: Case studies from the Asia-Pacific, edn. Original, UNSW Press, Sydney, pp. 277 - 298,
    • Kalpage S;Merson J;Robinson DF, 2012, 'Landscape-based conservation and sustainable resource use in the developing world: A case study from Sri Lanka', in Merson J; Cooney R; Brown P (ed.), Conservation in a Crowded World: Case studies from the Asia-Pacific, edn. Original, UNSW Press, Sydney, pp. 16 - 33,
    • Robinson DF, 2012, 'Biopiracy and the Innovations of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities', in Drahos P; Frankel S (ed.), Indigenous Peoples’ and Innovation: Intellectual Property Pathways to Development, edn. Original, ANU E-Press, Canberra, pp. 73 - 90,
    • Robinson DF, 2010, 'Local Agricultural and Environmental Knowledge: Working with Thai Institutes and Communities', in Jennings J; Packham R; Woodside D (ed.), Shaping Change: Natural Resource Management, Agriculture and the Role of Extension, edn. Original, APEN, Australia, pp. 102 - 108
    • Robinson D, 2009, 'Sui generis systems for plant variety protection and traditional knowledge in Asia', in Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development: Development Agendas in a Changing World, pp. 235 - 273
    • Robinson D, 2008, 'Beyond 'protection': Promoting traditional knowledge systems in Thailand', in Patenting Lives: Life Patents, Culture and Development, pp. 121 - 138

    Journal articles

    • Robinson DF;Graham N, 2018, 'Legal pluralisms, justice and spatial conflicts: New directions in legal geography', Geographical Journal, vol. 184, pp. 3 - 7,
    • Robinson D;Humphries F;Loban H, 2017, 'Implications of indigenous land tenure changes for accessing indigenous genetic resources from northern australia', Environmental and Planning Law Journal, vol. 34, pp. 560 - 579,
    • Robinson DF;Mcduie-Ra D, 2017, '(En)countering counterfeits in Bangkok: The urban spatial interlegalities of intellectual property law, enforcement and tolerance', Geographical Journal,
    • Robinson D;Raven M, 2017, 'Identifying and Preventing Biopiracy in Australia: patent landscapes and legal geographies for plants with Indigenous Australian uses', Australian Geographer, vol. 48, pp. 311 - 331,
    • Robinson DF;Forsyth M, 2016, 'People, plants, place, and rules: the Nagoya Protocol in pacific island countries', Geographical Research, vol. 54, pp. 324 - 335,
    • Robinson DF;Drozdzewski D, 2016, 'Hybrid identities: juxtaposing multiple identities against the ‘authentic’ Moken', Identities, vol. 23, pp. 536 - 554,
    • Masud S;Merson J;Robinson DF, 2016, 'Adapting a holistic approach to flood management in the Hawkesbury–Nepean region: complexities and perceptions of the agencies involved', Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, vol. 59, pp. 1126 - 1147,
    • Robinson D;Bavikatte KS;Oliva MJ, 2015, 'Biocultural Community Protocols: Dialogues on the Space Within', IK: Other Ways of Knowing, vol. 1, pp. 1 - 31,
    • Drozdzewski D;Robinson DF, 2015, 'Care-work on fieldwork: taking your own children into the field', Children's Geographies, vol. 13, pp. 372 - 378,
    • Robinson D, 2015, 'TRIPS and Developing Countries: Towards a New IPR World Order?', GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH, vol. 53, pp. 111 - 113,
    • Robinson D, 2014, 'Nagoya Protocol in the Spotlight with CBD meet ahead', ICTSD, pp. 4 - 8
    • Robinson D, 2014, 'Business and biodiversity: Towards sustainable use value chains?', ICTSD, pp. 16 - 19,
    • Bartel R;Graham N;Jackson S;Prior JH;Robinson DF;Sherval M;Williams S, 2013, 'Legal geography: An Australian perspective', Geographical Research, vol. 51, pp. 339 - 353,
    • Robinson DF, 2013, 'Legal geographies of intellectual property, 'traditional' knowledge and biodiversity: Experiencing conventions, laws, customary law, and Karma in Thailand', Geographical Research, vol. 51, pp. 375 - 386,
    • McDuie-Ra D;Robinson D;Kaewmahanin J, 2013, 'Spatial dysfunction in post-tsunami Baan Lion: Taking the Moken beyond vulnerability and tradition', Geoforum, vol. 48, pp. 145 - 155,
    • Robinson D;Gibson C, 2011, 'Governing knowledge: Discourses and tactics of the european union in trade-related intellectual property negotiations', Antipode, vol. 43, pp. 1883 - 1910,
    • Zhang C;Robinson D;Wang J;Liu J;Liu X;Tong L, 2011, 'Factors influencing farmers' willingness to participate in the conversion of cultivated land to wetland Program in Sanjiang National Nature Reserve, China', Environmental Management, vol. 47, pp. 107 - 120,
    • Bavikatte K;Robinson DF, 2011, 'Towards a People's History of the Law: Biocultural Jurisprudence and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing', Law, Environment & Development Journal, vol. 7, pp. 35 - 55,
    • Robinson DF, 2010, 'Locating biopiracy: Geographically and culturally situated knowledges', Environment and Planning A, vol. 42, pp. 38 - 56,
    • Robinson DF, 2010, 'Dealing with Traditional Knowledge Under the ABS Protocol', Bridges Trade BioRes Review, vol. 4, pp. 8 - 10,
    • Robinson D;Edwards D, 2009, 'Sustainable housing design: Measurement, motivation, and management in Sutherland Shire, Sydney, Australia', Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 36, pp. 336 - 354,
    • Robinson DF, 2009, 'Biopiracy concerns heat up over chilli pepper', Bridges Trade BioRes Review, vol. 3, pp. 6 - 7,
    • Kuanpoth J;Robinson DF, 2009, 'Protection of Geographical Indications: The Case of Jasmine Rice and Thailand', Intellectual Property Quarterly, vol. 2009, pp. 281 - 398
    • Robinson DF;Kuanpoth J, 2009, 'The Traditional Medicines Predicament: A Case Study of Thailand', The Journal of World Intellectual Property, vol. 11, pp. 375 - 403,
    • Robinson DF, 2008, 'Sui Generis Plant Variety Protection Systems: liability rules and non-UPOV systems of protection', Journal of intellectual property law and practice, vol. 3, pp. 659 - 665
    • Gibson CR;Robinson DF, 2004, 'Creative Networks in Regional Australia', Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture and Policy, vol. 112, pp. 83 - 100

    Conference Papers

    • Robinson DF, 2008, 'Local agri-cultural and environmental knowledge: working with local institutes and communities in Thailand', in Jennings J; Packham R; Woodside D (eds.), Proceedings: APEN Forum 07 'Capture, Consolidate and Communicate', APEN Forum 07: Capture, Consolidate and Communicate, ANU Canberra, pp. 253 - 268, presented at APEN Forum 07: Capture, Consolidate and Communicate, ANU Canberra, 01 June 2007


    Working Papers

    • Robinson DF, 2010, Traditional Knowledge and Biological Product Derivative Patents: Benefit-Sharing and Patent Issues Relating to Camu Camu, Kakadu Plum and Açaí Plant Extracts, United Nations University, Darwin, United Nations University Traditional Knowledge Initiative,

Teaching and Supervision

Dr Robinson is Program Authority and Coordinator of the Masters of Environmental Management (MEM)

  • IEST5002: Tools for Environmental Management
  • IEST5007: Environment and Development
  • IEST5500: Understanding Environmental Policy

Honours and prizes

Arts and Social Sciences Dean's Award winner for Research - Social Impact (2016)
Research Fellow, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Geneva (2014 - current)


Daniel is currently the Pacific Regional Manager of the Access and Benefit-Sharing Capacity Development Initiative, which has a 5 year project implementing the Nagoya Protocol in the Pacific from 2017 to 2021. See:

Daniel is Chief Investigator with Dr Margaret Raven on the 5 year Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project(DP180100507): Indigenous knowledge futures: protecting and promoting indigenous knowledge (2018-2022).

Daniel is the Academic Co-Lead for the Pacific, for the UNSW Institute for Global Development, a university-wide strategic initiative. See:

Engagement and Professional contributions

  • Visiting Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University, New York (short term, late 2018)
  • Research Fellow, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Geneva
  • Pacific Regional Project Manager,ABS Capacity Development Initiative, Pacific
  • Member, Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture (ACIPA)
  • Research Associate at theNGO Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment
  • Former Co-convenor,Legal Geography Study Group, Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG)
  • Centre member, Center for Ecosystem Sciences (CES), UNSW

Reviews, Reports and Discussion Papers

Other information


ABC TV Landline, ‘Kakadu Plums’ (16-July, 2016),

‘WIPO Seminar Looks At Protection Of TK, Genetic Resources Across Borders’, IP Watch, Geneva, 25 June 2015.

‘Shared Genetic Resources And Traditional Knowledge: National, Regional Efforts’ IP Watch, Geneva, 25 June 2015. here

‘Bio-piracy: US companies patenting extract from the Kakadu plum’ SBS2 TV, The Feed, Monday 27 April 2015

'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)PuentesVolume 15 - Number 9, ICTSD Geneva, 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

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' atThe 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' atRoyal 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 theOceania 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 theScience 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 fundedAsian Dialogue on Technology Transfer for Local Manufacturing Capacity of Drugs and Vaccines, Kuala Lumpur.