This article attempts to bridge the multi-disciplinary debate on environmental justice and the traditional international legal debate on equity with a view to analysing the legal concept of benefit-sharing in international law. To that end, the article uses the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity as a testing ground for: (i) unpacking different notions of justice that may be pursued through fair and equitable benefit-sharing from access to genetic resources and the use of associated traditional knowledge; and (ii) relating different notions of justice to the different functions that equity plays in international law. The aim is to test the potential wider application of linking a pluralist notion of environmental justice to different functions of equity in other areas of international law that refer to benefit-sharing. It is argued that this helps systematically unveil implicit legal design choices in relation to the pursuit of justice through international lawmaking, and interpret international legal instruments in ways that can contribute to negotiate concrete understandings of justice on a case-by-case basis.
The 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity prominently enshrined the concept of “access and benefit-sharing” (ABS) in the sphere of public international law. The series offers a forum for original research on the concept of ABS and on innovative regulatory and governance approaches related to the equitable sharing of commercial and non-commercial benefits deriving from access to genetic resources, biological resources and the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities, as well as in broader context of environmental protection and management.
The series will promote scholarly analysis of and practitioners’ reflection on the theory and the practice of regulatory and governance approaches to access and benefit-sharing.
It will explore substantive issues including: the multi-level legal frameworks for access to and benefit-sharing from genetic resources and traditional knowledge; legal issues related to access and benefit-sharing in the context of nature conservation; the legal recognition and reward of sustainable customary use and community-based environmental management practices; the protection and promotion of traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, smallholder farmers and local communities; legal challenges and innovations related to private sector-led, community-led and development assistance-based ABS arrangements; national and international approaches to the enforcement of the law. The series will also aim to illuminate the interactions between different areas of international law, between national and international law, as well as between the customary law and practices of indigenous and local communities and national and international law on ABS. It will also investigate interactions or influences between benefit-sharing approaches in various areas of international law, including human rights, the law of the sea, climate change and in particular REDD, forest management, agriculture, innovation and intellectual property rights, and corporate accountability.
The series will include both international (public and private) law studies as well as national/comparative/transnational law studies on innovative ways to foster access and benefit-sharing arrangements between governments, between government and local or indigenous communities, as well as between private individuals or entities. While the main focus is on legal studies, there is also some scope for inter-disciplinary pieces in both streams of research, as long as they are specifically aimed to inform legal analysis and lawmaking.
Books published in the series will be peer-reviewed and include research monographs and edited collections of essays.