The BeneLex project combines doctrinal and comparative analysis of sources of international law and of normative developments under multilateral environmental, human rights and corporate accountability processes.
This analysis is systematically enriched with real-world insights from the multilateral level through: participant observation in selected multilateral environmental negotiating sessions; organisation of international side-events at the margins of selected multilateral negotiations to gather feedback from negotiators from developing and developed countries, as well as NGOs, industry representatives and community-based organisations active at the multilateral level; and involvement of selected UN legal officers and non-governmental organisations that are active at the multilateral level in the project’s Board of Advisors.
In addition, to understand in a pragmatic and contextualised manner the role of benefit-sharing from the local to the global level, the project integrates empirical legal research and political sociology in the context of fieldwork in Malaysia, South Africa, Namibia, Argentina and the Greek island of Ikaria, in order to better understand the role of different transnational actors (non-governmental organisations, bilateral development partners, multinational enterprises) in shaping and using benefit-sharing in their environmental cooperation with governments and communities.
The project team will thus engage in a dialogue and share its outputs both with academics belonging to different epistemological communities (international law generalists, environmental lawyers, human rights lawyers, political scientists) and with policy and practice communities.
Benelex at Edinburgh conference ‘Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy’
Benelex at Rethinking Biodiversity Network meeting in Paris
On 1-2 March 2018, Dr Annalisa Savaresi (Stirling University) presented her research on benefit-sharing in renewable energy projects, in the context of the conference “Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy”, in Edinburgh, UK. Her presentation, titled ‘Benefit-sharing and Renewable Energy Generation: A Means to a Just Transition?’ sought to deliver greater understanding of whether and how benefit-sharing arrangements contribute to deliver a just energy transition, providing recommendations for the deployment of this tool based on best practices. Annalisa is now working on a journal article based on that presentation.
On 15-16 January 2018, BeneLex researcher Elsa Tsioumani participated in the second meeting of the Rethinking Biodiversity Network at Sciences Po, in Paris. The meeting comprised discussions involving representatives from governments, international organizations, civil society, and academia, on the successes and limitations of the current Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, options for the post-2020 Strategic Plan, and potential research outputs.
Annual Conference of the Society of Legal Scholars
Annual Conference of the International Association of Legal and Social Philosophy
On 6 September 2017, BeneLex researcher Kim Bouwer contributed to the Annual Conference of the Society of Legal Scholars, held this year at University College Dublin, with a paper entitled ‘Benefit Sharing and Climate Finance’. The paper explained the relevance of benefit-sharing in the context of climate change, and explored key areas where benefit-sharing concepts might be helpful in the provision of climate finance.
BeneLex at UNDRIP Anniversary Conference
On 17 November 2017, Dr Bouwer contributed to the Annual Conference of the International Association of Legal and Social Philosophy, UK Branch, hosted this year by the Sheffield Law School with a paper based entitled ‘The potential for distributive justice – benefit sharing as a safeguard in climate finance,’ to explore the contributions of a benefit-sharing frame from a distributive justice perspective, as well as problematic areas and challenges. Dr Bouwer will published a BeneLex working paper on benefit-sharing and climate finance in early 2018.
BeneLex at University of Leeds
On 20 October 2017, Dr Saskia Vermeylen (BeneLex Research Ethics Advisor) contributed to the Conference for the 10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, with a presentation prepared jointly with BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera entitled “Free Prior Informed Consent from Moral Theory to Practice: Insights from Bioethics and International Biodiversity Law.”
BeneLex at University of Turku
On 10 November 2017, BeneLex PI Prof. Elisa Morgera and BeneLex research fellow Louisa Parks spoke at the University of Leeds on ‘Environment, the law and the people: views of fair and equitable benefit-sharing from the perspectives of international law and political sociology’. The talk focused on BENELEX empirical findings from the perspectives of international law and political sociology, with a view to assessing the contribution of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of fair and equitable benefit-sharing across scales.
First workshop of the Rethinking Biodiversity Governance Network
On 23 November 2017, Prof. Morgera and Parks delivered a keynote address at the Colloquium ‘Environmental Politics, Economy and Knowledge’ at the University of Turku, Finland on the topic of ‘Global/Local Environmental Politics, Law and Knowledge’. A recording of Dr Parks and Prof. Morgera's keynote presentation.
BENELEX at ESPA Annual Science Conference
On 14-15 September 2017, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera participated in the first workshop of the Rethinking Biodiversity Governance Network at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway. Prof Morgera shared the latest research findings of the BeneLex project on fair and equitable benefit-sharing and the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities connected to natural resources, in order to provide insights into the challenges to be addressed in a post-2020 international biodiversity strategy. The event was attended by researchers and practitioners involved in CBD negotiations in various capacities.
Global Environmental Law Symposium (4-5 September 2017, Glasgow)
On 28 November-1st December 2017, Elisa Morgera and Daniela Diz participated in the Annual Science Conference of the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Programme. SCELG shared the findings of the MARINE BENEFITS projects on fair and equitable sharing arising from sustainable fisheries with small-scale fishing communities together with other ESPA fisheries-related projects; shared BENELEX research findings on the links between fair and equitable benefit-sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity and payments for ecosystem services; and exchanged experiences of inter-disciplinary research.
The BeneLex team organised an academic-practitioner symposium to discuss whether and to what extent the emerging concept/concepts of global environmental law can help shed new light on the evolution and challenges of environmental law across different levels and sectors. The symposium considered the need for a future research agenda for environmental law scholarship, and the form those directions might take, including theoretical and methodological reflections. The programme of the symposium can be found here and recordings of most presentations are available on the SCELG YouTube page.
Workshop Ocean Commons: Common Heritage, Marine Genetic Resources and Biodiversity Conservation in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (13 June 2017, Milan)
BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera was invited to present her research at a workshop organised by the K.G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea and Almanacco della Scienza CNR on "Ocean Commons: Common Heritage, Marine Genetic Resources and Biodiversity Conservation in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction" in Rome, on 13 June 2017, with a presentation on BENELEX research on access to digital information regarding marine genetic resources.
Conference on "Business and Human Rights: International Law Challenges, European Responses" (29-30 May 2017, Milan)
BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera was invited to present her research at: the Conference "Business and Human Rights: International Law Challenges, European Responses" organized by l'Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy on 29-30 May, with a presentation on "Fair and equitable benefit-sharing as part of companies' due diligence to ensure respect of the international human rights of indigenous peoples and local communities related to natural resources".
Conference on the Commons and Social and Solidarity Economy (4-7 May 2017, Thessaloniki)
Second BeneLex Workshop (28 April 2017, Ross Priory)
BeneLex researchers Louisa Parks and Elsa Tsioumani shared research findings at the Conference on the Commons and Social and Solidarity Economy in Greece, held from 4-7 May 2017, at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Their presentation was titled “Exploring the legal concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing for the protection of global and local commons: methodological challenges and preliminary findings.” Parks and Tsioumani participated in the panel on “Enclosures, Knowledge Commons and Social Justice: Towards a methodology of the commons,” chaired by Maria Bareli-Gaglia from the University of Crete. The Conference programme is available at: https://commonsseauth.wordpress.com/program-in-english/
Distinguished Professorial Address (23 March 2017, Oxford)
The BeneLex team discusses with its Board of Advisors the new findings of the project, the directions for the research to be undertaken in 2017-2018, and the key messages to be shared through policy briefs. The workshop was also an opportunity for our advisors to meet our two visiting PhD scholars: Mr Pag-yendu Yentchare, PhD candidate at Université Laval (Canada), whose research focuses on the interplay between the Nagoya Protocol provisions' on benefit-sharing with indigenous people and local communities, for the use of their traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, and the legal protection of such knowledge in the framework of the World Intellectual Property Organization; and Ms Marie-Catherine Petersmann, PhD candidate at the European University Institute, whose research focuses on the conflicting relationship between environmental protection and human rights.
Prof Morgera delivered a Distinguished Professorial Address, at the University of the West of England, Bristol.
Oxford Public International Law Discussion Group (2 February 2017, Oxford)
Prof Morgera presented in the context of the Oxford Public International Law Discussion Group, at the University of Oxford;. The podcast of a lecture delivered on 2 February 2017 by Prof Morgera in the context of the Oxford Public International Law Discussion Group, at the University of Oxford: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxlaw/e_morgera.mp3
Conference "Indigenous Peoples’ Natural Resources"(19 January 2017, Trento)
Elisa Morgera participates in workshop on Genetic resources in the age of the Nagoya Protocol and gene/genome synthesis at Cambridge
On 18th November 2016, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera participated in the workshop “Genetic resources in the age of the Nagoya Protocol and gene/genome synthesis” organized by the Engineering Life project (University of Edinburgh) and the OpenPlant Fund (University of Cambridge, John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory) in Cambridge. The workshop served to discuss current practices of genetic resource collection, circulation and use, the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol to date, and the possible changes or challenges that may arise as a result of gene and whole genome synthesis. PI Elisa Morgera was invited to provide an overview of multilateral approaches to benefit-sharing, placing the Nagoya Protocol in context in terms of its goals and the kinds of mechanisms it employs.
Workshop on the Commons in the Plant Innovation Field (30 September to 2 October 2016, Oxford)
MARINE BENEFITS holds second workshop
BENELEX researcher Elsa Tsioumani participated in the international workshop on ‘The Commons, Plant Breeding and Agricultural Research: how to face the challenges of an increasing world population and the preservation of agrobiodiversity
,’ held from 30 September to 1 October 2016, at the Maison Française d’ Oxford, Oxford, UK. Her presentation focused on challenges and lessons learned from the emergence and application of the principle of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in agrobiodiversity governance, and the need for imagining new governance models, beyond the current paradigm of access and benefit-sharing.
BeneLex invited to workshop “Global law and comparative law in discussion”
On 18-19th July 2016, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera participated in the MARINE BENEFITS project second workshop at Edinburgh University. During the first day, the project team and its Advisors discussed the outline of the final legal report to be produced under the project, which explores how the different benefit-sharing dimensions of the right to food may help illuminate the opportunities and challenges for the ecosystem services related to sustainable fisheries to contribute to poverty alleviation, with particular emphasis on small-scale fishing communities. During the second day, the project team and its Advisors discussed progress in the preparation of a special issue of the journal Marine Policy focusing on Sustainable Development Goals and sustainable fisheries. Workshop participants discussed the interactions and tensions between the various tenets of SDG 14 and the other SDGs, with particular attention to SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 7 (energy), SDG 8 (work), SDG 10 (inequalities), SDG 13 (climate), SDG 15 (terrestrial ecosystems), SDG 16 (peace) and SDG 17 (partnerships). The special issue will be published online in late 2016 with a view to feed into the preparations of the high-level UN Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (Fiji, 5-9 June 2017). See the MARINE BENEFITS project website
BeneLex contributes to the British International Studies Association annual conference
On 12 July 2016, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera participated in a workshop titled “Global Law and Comparative law in discussion” at Durham University School of Law. The workshop aimed to explore the scholarly boundaries between comparative and global law by scrutinizing the challenges that arise in both fields including in relation to institutional participation in the development of global and comparative law, plurality and the transposition and adoption of national concepts for the global space. Prof Morgera presented on global environmental law and the relevance of comparative legal methods, which are being studied both from a theoretical and empirical perspective in the BeneLex project. See our open-access article
On 15-17 June 2016, BeneLex researcher Louisa Parks presented a paper at the British International Studies Association annual conference held in Edinburgh. The overall theme of the conference, global justice, fitted well with many of the research interests of the BeneLex project. Parks presented a paper entitled ‘Towards a political ecology of “fair and equitable” benefit-sharing: a consideration of community protocols’ within the panel ‘Environmental Challenges: from local to global’. The paper uses the lens of political ecology to investigate to what extent community protocols are recognised and may create spaces for local community voices in the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as exploring the potentials and limitations of community protocols directly at the local level.
BeneLex contributes to Oxford workshop on Regulating the Energy Transition
On 30 June-1 July 2016, BeneLex researcher Annalisa Savaresi participated in a workshop at Old Souls College, University of Oxford, organized by the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, the University of Minnesota Law School and Energy Transition Lab, together with the American Society of International Law (ASIL) International Environmental Law Interest Group. The workshop considered questions at the cutting edge of law, policy and practice at the intersection of the environmental and energy fields. Dr Savaresi presented the preliminary findings of her research on community renewables and benefit-sharing.
BeneLex contributes to workshop on public and private international law
On 24th June 2016, BeneLex PI Morgera participated in the workshop "Private and public international law - strengthening connections" at Lincoln University, UK. Morgera shared the findings of a mapping exercise of key research questions, jointly developed with Prof. Kati Kulovesi of the University of Eastern Finland and BeneLex researcher Tsioumani, on the opportunities and challenges of filling gaps in public international environmental law through private contracts. The presentation was based on the experiences from the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as standard contracts developed under multilateral benefit-sharing mechanisms. The paper is expected to feed into ongoing reflections under the BeneLex project on how to realised fairness and equity through private-law contracts on benefit-sharing.
BeneLex workshop on the law of the marine environment
BeneLex organises talk on Earth jurisprudence
On 17 June 2016, the BeneLex team organised a half-day workshop on the Law on the Marine Environment.
Dr Sophia Kopela from Lancaster Law School discussed the issue of historic titles and rights in the South China Sea arbitration (Philippines v China). Dr James Harrison, Edinburgh Law School, critically examined international law on dumping at sea. Dr Daniela Diz shared preliminary legal findings from the MARINE BENEFITS research project (www.marinebenefits.ed.ac.uk
). BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera identified multiple benefit-sharing dimensions in the ongoing negotiations for a new treaty on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
On 17 June 2016, the BeneLex team organised a half-day workshops on Earth Jurisprudence and Wildlaw at Edinburgh Law School. Dr Sophia Kopela, Lancaster University Law School, and Dr Saskia Vermeylen, Lancaster Environment Centre, discussed the concepts of earth jurisprudence and wild law from interdisciplinary perspectives, sharing their insights from philosophy, anthropology, ethic and legal scholarship. Attendees discussed earth jurisprudence’s biophysical and legal challenges and its usefulness to (further) develop legal tools, which acknowledge nature’s intrinsic worth. Several concepts appear very salient for BeneLex research and for international environmental law more generally.
BeneLex contributes to workshop on land as a global issue
On 16th May 2016, BeneLex researchers contributed to discussions on land issues in law, anthropology and political sciences, with perspectives on international law and fair and equitable benefit-sharing, in the context of a full-day workshop organised under the British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme by Prof Anne Griffiths, Edinburgh Law School. The workshop was titled “Land as a Global Issue: Perspectives from South and North”. Following an introduction to the BeneLex project by PI Elisa Morgera, BeneLex research Elsa Tsioumani delivered a presentation entitled “international law and land governance: assessing the potential of fair and equitable benefit-sharing as a tool for justice.” Margherita Brunori, visiting postgraduate student of the University of Edinburgh and Ph.D. student at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy, presented on access to land and tenure security in UN General Assembly Resolutions. Rosalie Katsande (also on behalf of Julie Stewart) delivered a presentation titled “Here We Go Again: The Land Paper Chase – Zimbabwe” and Faustin Tirwirukwa Kalabamu shared his views on “Realising Justice? A Critique of Land Reform in Botswana.” Discussions focused on legal bottlenecks and opportunities at local, national and international levels and on the need for further research on their interactions
BeneLex workshop on fair and equitable benefit-sharing and right to science
BeneLex workshop on fair and equitable benefit-sharing and water
May 2016, The BeneLex team organized a half-day workshop on fair and equitable benefit-sharing in the context of the human right to science at Edinburgh School of Law (see BeneLex papers http://www.mdpi.com/2075-471X/4/4/803
. Dr Ben Neimark and Saskia Vermeylen from Lancaster Environment Centre, and Dr Adele Langlois from the University of Lincoln shared their research findings on the right to science from a political ecology and international relations, respectively. Participants discussed legal perspectives related to health, intellectual property, human and labour rights, and environment.
On 12th May 2016, the BeneLex team organized a half-day workshop on fair and equitable benefit-sharing issues related to water at Edinburgh School of Law. BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera presented on the emerging concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in international law, with particular emphasis on international biodiversity and human rights law. Ruby Moynihan, Ph.D. scholar at Edinburgh School of Law, shared preliminary ideas on the the relevance of the international legal concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing for international watercourses law (see her blog post: http://tinyurl.com/pph5mpa). Dr Mara Tignino and Dr Komlan Sangbana, from the Platform for International Water Law and Geneva Water Hub, presented on experience accrued on fair and equitable benefit-sharing in the context of cooperation in the Senegal and Niger River Basins. The event was attended by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Lancaster and Dundee.
BeneLex workshop on fair and equitable benefit-sharing and corporate accountability
On 12th May 2016, the BeneLex team organized a half-day workshop on fair and equitable benefit-sharing in the context of the business responsibility to respect human rights at Edinburgh School of Law. BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera presented on the emerging concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in international law and its relevance for the UN Framework on Business and Human Rights (see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2424802). Dr Mara Tignino from the University of Geneva and Dr Kirsteen Shields from the University of Dundee shared ideas for further research that could be pursued in the context of the European and American Societies of International Law, among others. The event was attended by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Lancaster.
BeneLex contributes to network meeting on rethinking biodiversity governance
On 1 May 2016, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera participated in the Network Meeting on Rethinking Biodiversity Governance, which convened at margins of CBD subsidiary bodies' meetings in Montreal, Canada. The event was organised by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency with a view to identifying ways in which academic research can contribute to international and national policy-making on the effective implementation of biodiversity conservation, restoration and sustainable use. Prof Morgera shared key findings from the BeneLex project, indicating actual and potential areas for mutual supportiveness between biodiversity governance, human rights, sustainable fisheries, and other sectors involved in the use of natural resources.
BeneLex presents findings at University of Lapland
On 19th April 2016, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera shared preliminary findings on comparative and global environmental law related to the norm diffusion of fair and equitable benefit-sharing at the University of Lapland (Rovaniemi, Finland). The findings had been published in a special issue of the Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law guest-edited by Prof Morgera in late 2015. In addition, Prof Morgera also delivered a presentation on corporate environmental accountability in international law, which is another theme of research under the BeneLex project.
BeneLex contributes to the Socio-Legal Studies Association’s annual conference
From 5-7 April 2016, BeneLex researchers Elsa Tsioumani and Louisa Parks attended the Socio-Legal Studies Association’s annual conference at Lancaster University School of Law. Both researchers presented in the panel on community-based environmental justice within the environmental justice stream. Tsioumani’s presentation shared research on legal tools aiming to defend farmers' and peasants' rights, including the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, open-source seed initiatives, and community protocols. Parks discussed findings from five community-level case studies underway within the BeneLex project, reflecting on issues of relevance for international environmental law. The conference included interesting discussions around the meaning of property, indigenous peoples’ rights, legal pluralism, as well as environmental justice.
BeneLex contributes to CIRCULEX workshop on norm diffusion
On 21st March 2016, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera participated in the workshop “The circulation of norms and actor networks in the international governance of the environment” organized by the CIRCULEX project at Aix-Marseille Faculty of Law and Political Science, Aix-en-Provence, France. Morgera delivered a presentation prepared jointly with BeneLex researcher Louisa Parks titled "Aperçus méthodologiques et substantiels sur la circulation de la norme juridique sur le partage juste et équitable des avantages" (methodological and substantive insights into the diffusion of the international legal norm of fair and equitable benefit-sharing). The discussion highlighted the usefulness of an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of norm diffusion to: call into question the presumed neutrality of international law; take into account understandings of power imbalances in the interpretation of international law; and raise awareness of the role of lawyers as actors in norm diffusion.
BeneLex contributes to "Decolonizing the Academy" Conference
On 26th February 2016, BeneLex researcher Louisa Parks contributed to the Decolonizing the Academic conference held at the University of Edinburgh. Parks made a presentation entitled 'Decolonising natural resource management through fair and equitable benefit-sharing? Evidence from local case studies’ during a session on law and legal recognition. In addition, BeneLex Prof. Elisa Morgera chaired an interesting session on (De)coloniality, citizenship and belonging. The one-day conference also included a keynote speech delivered by Prof Ramon Grosfuguel, University of California, Berkeley, addressing issues around post-colonial and decolonial theory.
BeneLex research presented at Sussex University
On 17th February 2016, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera was invited to present BeneLex findings to academics from Sussex Law School and Sussex Sustainability (a research programmes with Business, Management & Economics; Global Studies; Life Sciences; Politics & Sociology, and the Institute of Development Studies). Morgera shared preliminary findings on the extent of cross-fertilization between international biodiversity law and international human rights law with regard to the legal concept of fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from conservation, natural resource use and the use of knowledge with indigenous peoples and local communities.
BeneLex presentation on benefit-sharing from natural resource use
On 3rd February 2016, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera delivered a presentation titled “The emergence of fair and equitable benefit-sharing obligations from the use of natural resources” at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. The presentation explored the extent of the cross-fertilisation between international biodiversity law and international human rights law with regard to the emergence of fair and equitable benefit-sharing obligations arising from natural resource use with indigenous peoples and local communities. In addition to a doctrinal analysis of relevant international legal materials, the presentation drew on empirical research carried out in five countries at community level (Argentina, Greece, South Africa, Namibia and Malaysia) to identify practical challenges in the realisation of fair and equitable benefit-sharing on the ground and relate them to ongoing international negotiations on fair and equitable benefit-sharing.
BeneLex workshop on fair and equitable benefit-sharing, land and international law
An internal workshop on fair and equitable benefit-sharing, land and international law was held on 1st February 2016, at the Edinburgh University School of Law. BeneLex researchers discussed issues related to benefit-sharing in the context of land governance with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh and three experts on land: Dr. Lorenzo Cotula from IIED, Naomi Kenney from FAO, and Thierry Berger, independent researcher on investment law. The workshop identified linkages between multi-level land governance and regulation and several areas of international law, including on human rights, sustainable development, the environment, agriculture, and trade and investment; and addressed a series of research questions. Discussion focused on: divergent terminologies, particularly regarding who the beneficiaries are in a benefit-sharing context; sources of law and regulation; interlinkages between investment law and land rights, and related jurisprudence; and gender considerations in the land context, including in relation to international human rights law and customary laws.
BeneLex seminar 'Sharing benefits from the coast'
On 29th January 2016, Dr. Rachel Wynberg (Senior Researcher & Deputy Director of the Environmental Evaluation Unit, Cape Town University) gave a talk at Edinburgh Law School on the findings of her book "Sharing Benefits from the Coast: Rights, Resources and Livelihoods." The event was organised by the BeneLex project, and the MARINE BENEFITS project
. Dr Wynberg’s presentation underscored that benefit-sharing is an iterative process to identify locally-appropriate solutions, including in terms of governance of benefit-sharing among different actors with conflicting objectives, while taking into account the need to adapt and evolve. The discussion focused on practical challenges in ensuring fair and equitable benefit-sharing across different sectors, in light of the interlinkages between benefits and losses across different sectors (for instance, fisheries, tourism and mining near coasts) as local communities pursue diverse livelihoods.
BeneLex postgraduate course at Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies
From 18-20th November 2015, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera and researchers Elsa Tsioumani and Annalisa Savaresi delivered a postgraduate course on "Fair and Equitable Benefit-sharing in International Law" at the DIRPOLIS Institute, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy. The course involved PhD and Master students in the analysis of the emergence of the international legal concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in international biodiversity, human rights, biodiversity and climate law, as well as in international law on agriculture, food and land.
BeneLex contributes to Symposium on Environmental Racism
On 16th October 2015, BeneLex researcher Louisa Parks participated in a symposium on the theme of environmental racism hosted by the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment and the Lincoln Centre for Environmental Law and Justice. Louisa Parks presented preliminary comparisons of the 5 local community-level case studies underway within the BeneLex project, focusing on findings indicating issues needing attention where the objective of fair and equitable benefit-sharing is to be reached. The ensuing discussions focused on discursive clashes between different conceptions of development, possible uses of human rights law to tackle environmental racism, and opportunities for state-centric institutions to elaborate laws respectful of local particularities.
BeneLex seminar 'Sharing insights from the field'
On 27th October 2015, BeneLex researchers Elisa Morgera and Louisa Parks shared the preliminary findings of the five local-level case studies underway as part of the BeneLex project at Edinburgh Law School. Presentations by the researchers focused on findings in a comparative perspective of community experience with fair and equitable benefit-sharing across continents and natural resources. The presentations drew out common themes of interest to questions of benefit-sharing negotiation at local levels, as well as reflecting on methodological lessons learnt and possible pathways for future research missions.
BeneLex workshop on justice and benefit-sharing
On 15th October 2015, the BeneLex team organized an internal roundtable at Edinburgh Law School on different notions of justice (procedural justice, recognition, capabilities) and their links with fair and equitable benefit-sharing. The event was organised in cooperation with three visiting scholars that are working along with the BeneLex team throughout autumn 2015: Dr Saskia Vermeylen, Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University Environment Centre, UK; Dr Lalanath de Silva, Director, Environmental Democracy Practice, World Resources Institute (WRI), Washington DC, US; and Margherita Brunori, doctoral candidate, Universita' Sant'Anna, Pisa. Two colleagues from WRI skyped into the roundtable to share insights from their projects on procedural justice and on recognition; and Dr Euan MacDonald from Edinburgh Law School shared his latest research on theories of justice.
BeneLex workshop on renewable energy and community benefit-sharing
On 2nd October 2015, BeneLex researchers gathered with colleagues from various disciplines for a brainstorming workshop on avenues for community benefit-sharing at Edinburgh Law School. Workshop participants discussed the extent to which questions of equity and justice are addressed in Scottish community energy policies and practice, and the extent to which these policies and practise can be related to the international legal concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing. The event has laid the ground for future BeneLex work on renewables and benefit-sharing.
BeneLex contributes to workshop 'Discerning Systemic Functionality and Global Values in International Law'
On 8-9th July 2015, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera participated in a closed workshop on a "Dialogue between public and private international law: discerning systematic functionality and global values in international law" at the University of Edinburgh School of Law. Prof. Morgera delivered a presentation, jointly prepared with Prof. Kati Kulovesi of the University of Eastern Finland, titled "Filling gaps in public international law through private contracts? Experiences from the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity." The feedback received from the private and public international lawyers participating in the event (including Professors Duncan French and Ellen Hey from the BeneLex Board of Advisors) will be taken into account in the elaboration of the paper, as well as in ongoing reflections under the BeneLex project on the opportunities and challenges of realising fairness and equity through private-law contracts on benefit-sharing.
BeneLex contributes to workshop 'ICT for Environmental Regulation as a Global Justice Issue'
On 15th June 2015, BeneLex participated in a brainstorming workshop titled "ICT in a Changing Climate: ICT for Environmental Regulation as a Global Justice Issue." The workshop was a joint initiative of the Global Environment and Society Academy and the Global Justice Academy of the University of Edinburgh, with support from the SCRIPT centre of Edinburgh Law School. The workshop aimed to discuss the growing role of information technology for environmental regulation, monitoring and enforcement in the context of the relationships between developed and developing countries from the perspective of global justice. BeneLex researcher Elsa Tsioumani presented on "Bio-informatics and eco-digital commons" and PI Elisa Morgera on "The human right to science: is the sharing of environment-related knowledge through ICT a form of benefit-sharing?" The workshop identified under-research questions related to the inequalities that reliance on ICT can create or reinforce if not designed carefully.
BeneLex contributes to workshop 'Going Beyond Academia: the Challenges of Engaged Research'
On 5th June 2015, BeneLex researcher Louisa Parks participated in the workshop ‘Going Beyond Academia: the Challenges of Engaged Research’ at the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice in the School of Politics, University on Nottingham. Three themes formed the core of the discussions: the politics of knowledge production and the contested field of academia; methodological challenges in engaged research; and the researcher’s political engagement and concrete contributions to struggles for social justice. The research undertaken within the BeneLex project alongside different local communities aims to be participatory and create knowledge with research participants, so the themes of the workshop were particularly useful for deepening reflections on how to fulfil such aims.
Special Session at the 15th World Water Congress 'Equity and Water: Questions of Access and Benefit-sharing'
On 25th May 2015, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera co-organized a special session at the 15th World Water Congress in Edinburgh, UK, in collaboration with the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance and the Dundee Centre for Water, Law and Policy under the theme 'Equity and Water: Questions of Access and Benefit-sharing.' Elisa contributed with a presentation on fair and equitable benefit-sharing in international biodiversity law as a basis for a discussion on the relevance of this legal concept for international water law. Panelists and participants discussed the role of international law in realising equity from the perspectives of international environmental, human rights, economic and development law.
BeneLex contributes to conference 'Bioethics, Law and Human Rights: Global Intersections'
On 15th May 2015, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera participated in the academic conference "Bioethics, Law and Human Rights: Global Intersections" organised by the the University of Sheffield, UK, delivering a presentation on "Fair and equitable benefit-sharing at the cross-roads of the human right to science and international biodiversity law." The conference provided an opportunity to identify areas of common research interest among scholars in global health governance, bioethics, human rights and international environmental law.
BeneLex Seminar 'Benefit-sharing and the law of the sea'
On 24th April 2015, Dr James Harrison of Edinburgh University School of Law shared preliminary thoughts on the role of benefit-sharing in the law of the sea, with a view to testing the conceptual framework elaborated under the BeneLex project. Dr Harrison highlighted differences in the benefit-sharing models used under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea with regard to the outer continental shelf and the international seabed respectively. He also identified other areas of the law of the sea that could be conceptualised in terms of benefit-sharing.
BeneLex Seminar 'Benefit-sharing, land, food and agriculture in international law'
On 18th March 2015, BeneLex researcher Elsa Tsioumani presented the preliminary findings of her study investigating benefit-sharing in international law on land, food and agriculture, highlighting how benefit-sharing may serve different functions (objective, obligation, right, safeguard or mechanism).Prof Francesco Francioni (European University Institute) and Dr Lorenzo Cotula (International Institute for the Environment and Development), who are on the BeneLex Board of Advisors, acted as discussants. Prof. Francioni underscored the need to further investigate who benefits from benefit-sharing, and the relationship with economic, social and cultural rights. Dr Cotula called attention to benefit-sharing in the context of large-scale land acquisitions and to the procedural, as well as substantive, dimensions of benefit-sharing.
BeneLex Seminar 'Environmental governance, the law and the people: an inter-disciplinary perspectives on benefit-sharing'
On 9th March 2015, BeneLex held a seminar at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln. Dr Elisa Morgera gave a presentation on global environmental law and benefit-sharing as a legal tool for creating partnership between governments, communities and the private sector; and on an interdisciplinary methodology for the empirical investigation of benefit-sharing on the ground. Dr Louisa Parks presented a preliminary comparison of findings from BeneLex case studies on pastoralists in the island of Ikaria (Greece) and traditional healers in Bushbuckridge (South Africa). Dr Annalisa Savaresi reflected on how these empirical findings can inform the analysis of benefit-sharing in the context of REDD+.
BeneLex Seminar 'Benefit-sharing and global environmental law: an inter-disciplinary enquiry into norm diffusion'
On 4th March 2015, BeneLex held a seminar at the School of Law of the University of Edinburgh. Prof Ellen Hey (Erasmus University Rotterdam), who is on the BeneLex Board of Advisors, shared her latest thinking on global environmental law and the mutual interactions between global and local rules and decisions on the environment. Dr Elisa Morgera presented on an inter-disciplinary methodology developed with Dr Louisa Parks for understanding the diffusion of benefit-sharing at global, national, transnational and local levels, taking into account the role of law, politics and power asymmetries in ensuring equitable approaches to environmental protection and natural resource management. Ensuing discussions focused on the rationale behind sharing benefits with indigenous peoples and local communities, the need to analyse different contexts in which fair and equitable benefit-sharing may come into play, and different understandings of benefit-sharing held by different actors.
BeneLex introduced at the Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and Law Conference, University of Cambridge
On 20th February 2015, the BeneLex project was introduced at the Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and the Law Conference
, University of Cambridge.
At the conference,
academics and practitioners shared insight on the past successes, current hurdles and potential future solutions regarding practical legal and governance challenges concerning biodiversity degradation and loss.
BeneLex-Ius Commune Workshop: 'Benefit-sharing in environmental law: international and European perspectives'
On 26th November 2014, BeneLex co-organised a workshop on ‘Benefit sharing in environmental law: international and European perspectives’ together with the Ius Commune Research School. The BeneLex researchers presented the project’s working papers on international environmental law andinternational climate law, as well as the preliminary findings of the first BeneLex field visit to the Greek island of Ikaria. The Ius Commune researchers presented papers analyzing benefit-sharing in EU biodiversity, climate and water law. The workshop took place at St Leonard’s Hall, Edinburgh University. The Ius Commune Research School brings together researchers from the law schools of the universities of Amsterdam, Leuven, Maastricht and Utrecht.
BeneLex Seminar 'Benefit-sharing and international climate change law'
On 12th November 2014, BeneLex researcher Dr Annalisa Savaresi presented the preliminary findings of her study investigating equity in the climate regime from a benefit-sharing perspective at Edinburgh Law School, UK. Dr Savaresi’s presentation was followed by a discussion led by Dr Harro van Asselt, NORD-STAR Postdoctoral Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford Centre.
BeneLex at the British International Studies Association's Workshop on Normative and Ideational Trends in Global Environmental Politics
BeneLex Seminar 'Benefit-sharing at the cross-roads of international environmental and human rights law'
On 16-17th October 2014, BeneLex researchers Elisa Morgera and Louisa Parks presented a paper on ‘Conceptualising, and understanding the normative diffusion of, benefit-sharing in global environmental law’ at the British International Studies Association's workshop on normative and ideational trends in global environmental politics
held at the University of Sheffield. The workshop, organized by Dr. Hayley Stevenson of the BISA Environment Working Group. A host of papers was presented discussing different understandings and expressions of ideas of relevance to the BeneLex project, such as green economy. Participants exchanged ideas about the power wielded by norms and discourse in global environmental politics in a variety of political arenas ranging from the Rio+20 Conference to the negotiations under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
On 15th October 2014, BeneLex principal investigator Elisa Morgera presented her findings on the emergence of the legal concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in international environmental law and its linkages with international human rights law at Edinburgh University School of Law, UK. Dr Morgera’s presentation was followed by a discussion led by Dr James Harrison, Edinburgh Law School.
BeneLex at the 3rd UNITAR-Yale Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy
BeneLex introduced at the Edinburgh India Institute Inaugural Conference
On 7th September 2014, BENELEX Researcher Annalisa Savaresi presented a paper on ‘The Emergence of Benefit-Sharing under the Climate Regime. Towards Greater Equity?
’ at the 3rd UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) - Yale Conference on Environmental Governance & Democracy. The conference took place at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and brought together scholars and policy experts working in the areas of human rights, climate change and sustainable development, including theIndependent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment, Professor John Knox
. The conference was aimed at discussing state-of-the-art knowledge at the nexus of human rights and the environment. Presented papers largely focused on the implementation of procedural rights; the protection of so-called environmental defenders; and the interface between human rights, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals
. Get more information on the conference
Biocultural Community Protocols and Benefit-sharing: An Interdisciplinary Enquiry
On 15th May 2014,
the BeneLex project was introduced at the Edinburgh India Institute Inaugural Conference
, an interdisciplinary gathering showcasing the University of Edinburgh’s longstanding engagement with India, in disciplines ranging from medicine to engineering. Intervening in a session dedicated to Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr Annalisa Savaresi introduced the objectives and scope of BeneLex and its planned fieldwork in India. The Edinburgh India Institute
aims to encourage greater awareness and to extend the University’s links with India.
On 11th March 2014, the BeneLex team shared preliminary ideas for a proposed methodology of its empirical, inter-disciplinary (law and political sociology) work in the context of the Empirical Legal Research Network of Edinburgh University School of Law. The presentation focused on the potential of norm diffusion and process tracing to explain the evolution of benefit-sharing across different international legal developments and through the use of ‘biocultural community protocols’ as tools for articulating and implementing benefit-sharing at the intersection of international, transnational, national and indigenous communities’ customary law. Law School colleagues and members of the BeneLex Advisory Board from the Schools of Social and Political Sciences and of Geosciences provided feedback that will be incorporated in a revised paper. This will be circulated to partner NGOs and interested colleagues for a second round of feedback.
Delivering on global environmental justice: the promises of benefit-sharing
On 30th January 2014, Dr Elisa Morgera presented a paper titled “Delivering on global environmental justice: the promises of benefit-sharing” in the context of an event organised by the Global Justice Academy and the Constitutional Law Centre of the University of Edinburgh School of Law. The paper aimed to stimulate a discussion on whether and to what extent the legal concept of benefit-sharing may contribute to the multi-disciplinary exploration that is ongoing within the University of Edinburgh of what global justice means and how it can be achieved. The paper illustrated the premises, key research questions and some very preliminary findings of the BeneLex project with a view to facilitating a participatory identification of actual and potential links to the debate on global justice and other ongoing research at the University of Edinburgh by participants in the event. The comments provided by Prof. Christine Bell (Law) and Prof. Tim Hayward (SPS), who acted as discussants, and by other participants will contribute to further develop the conceptual framework of the BeneLex project.