Category Archives: Biodiversity

Justice, Equity and Benefit-Sharing under the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (E. Morgera)

Author

Elisa Morgera

Keywords

benefit-sharing, biodiversity, equity, justice, Nagoya Protocol, mutual supportiveness, indigenous peoples

Abstract

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 fair and equitable 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, in other areas of international law that refer to benefit-sharing, of linking a pluralist notion of environmental justice to different functions of equity. It is argued that this helps systematically unveil implicit legal design choices in relation to the pursuit of justice through international law-making, and interpret international legal instruments in ways that can contribute to negotiate concrete understandings of justice on a case-by-case basis.

Citation

Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2015/16

Paper

Justice, Equity and Benefit-Sharing under the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity

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Fair and Equitable Benefit-sharing at the Cross-roads of the Human Right to Science and International Biodiversity Law (E. Morgera)

Author(s)

Elisa Morgera

Keywords

right to science, benefit-sharing, equity, international law, biodiversity, human rights

Abstract

As the debate about the need to clarify the content of the human right to science intensifies, this article assesses opportunities for opening a scholarly and policy dialogue on fair and equitable benefit-sharing between international human rights and biodiversity lawyers. To that end, the article contrasts the emerging conceptualizations of the right to science in the context of international cultural rights and of fair and equitable benefit-sharing under international biodiversity law. It then critically assesses the potential for cross-fertilization with specific regard to: the sharing of scientific information and promotion of scientific cooperation, the transfer of technology, and the protection and valorization of traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities. While acknowledging that both the right to science and fair and equitable benefit-sharing are far from being fully understood or operationalized, the article argues that developments in international biodiversity law concerning the latter may provide insights into how a vague and optimistic concept can (and when it cannot) lead to tangible outcomes, rather than remaining merely rhetorical.

Citation

(2015) Laws 4 pp.803-831

Paper

Fair and Equitable Benefit-sharing at the Cross-roads of the Human Right to Science and International Biodiversity Law

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Competing Narratives and Complex Genealogies: The Ecosystem Approach in International Environmental Law

Author

Vito De Lucia

Keywords

Ecosystem Approach, international environmental law, anthropocentrism, ecocentrism

Abstract

The ecosystem approach, broadly understood as a legal and governance ‘strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources’ is being increasingly adopted within a wide variety of international environmental legal regimes. From freshwater to oceans, from biodiversity to fisheries, from Antarctica to climate adaptation, the approach provides a narrative, a policy approach and in some cases legally binding obligations for States to implement what has been called a ‘new paradigm’ of environmental management. Responding to hopes of arresting, and reversing, the increasingly negative trends of resource depletion and ecological degradation affecting most ecosystems in the world, the ecosystem approach promises to ‘protect the environment, maintain healthy ecosystems, preserve biological diversity, and achieve sustainable development’, all at once. This article problematises the ecosystem approach in order to highlight its complex genealogies, and its contested and slippery character, which makes it susceptible to discursive capture by competing narratives.

Citation

(2015) 27/1 Journal of of Environmental Law, 91-117

Paper

Competing Narratives and Complex Genealogies: The Ecosystem Approach in International Environmental Law

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Protecting Environmental Rights Through the Bilateral Agreements of the European Union: Mapping the Field (E. Morgera)

Author(s)

Elisa Morgera

Keywords

EU external relations, EU environmental policy, environmental rights, EU agreements, climate change, biodiversity, forest, traditional knowledge, corporate accountability

Abstract

The present paper aims to map existing and future opportunities for utilizing EU bilateral agreements to promote the protection of environmental rights, as well as available legal avenues to address missed opportunities and possible risks that EU environmental action abroad may negatively impact on environmental rights in third countries. It starts with a brief overview of the external environmental policy of the EU, including constitutional requirements to couple human rights and environmental protection in external relations and an introduction to the practice of EU bilateral agreements. The chapter will then provide a snapshot of the environment-and-human-rights connection in EU law from an internal perspective, to demonstrate the political sensitivity of the issue. Against this background, the central part of the paper will identify six thematic areas in which entry points for the protection of environmental rights exist in the framework of EU bilateral agreements. The final section will offer a preliminary reflection of the human rights risks of current environmental external relations of the Union and possible avenues to tackle these risks in EU and international law.

Citation

(2014) Lenzerini, F and A Vrdoljak, eds. International Law for Common Goods: Normative Perspectives on Human Rights, Culture and Nature (Hart) pp. 421-441

Paper

Protecting Environmental Rights Through the Bilateral Agreements of the European Union: Mapping the Field

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Benefit-Sharing as a Bridge between the Environmental and Human Rights Accountability of Multinational Corporations (E. Morgera)

Author(s)

Elisa Morgera

Keywords

corporate accountability, international environmental law, human rights, biodiversity, benefit-sharing

Abstract

This paper analyses the tight linkages between human rights and environmental degradation due to sub-standard corporate conduct. It then proceeds to outline the development of international standards on corporate responsibility and accountability in relation to environmental protection, highlighting the significant level of detail and convergence of international standards for corporate environmental accountability. Against this background, the paper systematically examines instances in which conceptual and normative developments under international environmental law, and in particular under the Convention on Biological Diversity, have contributed to developing international standards on corporate responsibility to respect human rights. The paper furthers the understanding of the key concept of benefit-sharing, teasing out its inter-state and intra-state implications, as well as its current and potential applications to private companies. It concludes with some future perspectives on the role of benefit-sharing in the context of the green economy vis-à-vis the environmental and human rights dimensions of corporate accountability.

Citation

(2015) Boer, Ben ed. Environmental Law Dimensions of Human Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press) pp. 37-68

Paper

Benefit-Sharing as a Bridge between the Environmental and Human Rights Accountability of Multinational Corporations

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