Associate Professor Daniel Robinson

Associate Professor
BSc Hons, G.Dip Env Law, PhD
School of Humanities & Languages


Room 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 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.

Daniel is the Pacific Regional Manager of the Access and Benefit-Sharing Capacity Development Initiative.

Daniel is CI with Dr Margaret Raven on the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project (DP180100507): Indigenous knowledge futures: protecting and promoting indigenous knowledge



    Book Chapters

    • 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,
    • Robinson D, 2017, 'Traditional knowledge and biocultural diversity', in Biodiversity Conservation in Southeast Asia: Challenges in a Changing Environment, pp. 33 - 46,
    • 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,
    • Robinson D;Roffe P;Abdel-Latif A, 2017, 'Introduction: Mapping the Evolution, State-of-play and Future of the WIPO IGC', in Robinson DF; Abdel-Latif A; Roffe P (ed.), Protecting Traditional Knowledge The Wipo Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, Routledge Research in International Environmental Law, Oxon, pp. 3 - 9,
    • McDuie-Ra DA;Robinson D, 2017, 'Pirate places in Bangkok: IPRs, vendors and urban order', in Fredriksson M; Arvanitakis J (ed.), Property, Place and Piracy, edn. Complex Real Property Rights, Routledge, London, pp. 202 - 217,
    • 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 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,


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)

Professional contribution

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). (PDF)

Robinson, D. And Defrene, E. (2011) ‘Argan: A Case study on ABS? (PDF)’ 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 Pepper Bridges 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:

 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:

Affiliations and membership

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 the NGO 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.

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)Puentes Volume 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

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 (Conferred, Working for UNSW) - Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts and Coastal Zone Management in Bangladesh

Thanh Pham (Conferred, Working for the Government of Viet Nam) - 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 (Conferred, now working for Swiss International Development Agency) - Participatory monitoring for water resource management: planning for climate change in Western Sydney

Pratistha Tamrakar (MPhil, Conferred) - 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.