This chapter explores the meaning of access in a broader historical and emerging context of the governance of genetic resources. It investigates three questions: how did access emerge as a concern? How has access been perceived by relevant international agreements? How should we reconceptualise access in a broader context of the governance of genetic resources? Developing countries expressed the view that an international legal regime was necessary to address the disparity of gene bank facilities between the developing and the developed world and to regulate developed countries' excessive control and use of the germplasm stored in gene banks. Developed countries express the view that protecting farmers' rights falls under the national purview and should not conflict with the rights and obligations under other relevant international laws such as Union for the Protection of New Varieties and Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.