Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance News & Outreach

The BeneLex team aims to reach a variety of stakeholders through the organisation of international side-events at multilateral environmental negotiation sessions, the sharing of research results in the form of blog posts (to discuss topical international law developments that are relevant to benefit-sharing), working papers and guest articles, and the participation in other events.

Check our guest blog post for the Global Justice Academy and our guest article for Biodiversity Policy and Practice

2019

BENELEX contributes to appeal in South Africa

October 2019: BENELEX contributed to an appeal led by partner NGO Natural Justice providing legal assistance to the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance in the context of offshore gas and oil exploration off the coast of South Africa. BENELEX shared research findings on international requirements to include in environmental impact assessments consideration of the human rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, such as cultural heritage.

More information on relevant international standards can be found at

https://www.strath.ac.uk/…/learni…/moduleonnaturalresources/

The appeal was filed on 21st October 2019 challenging a decision by the Department of Mineral Resources: 

https://www.iol.co.za/…/sdcea-appeals-against-exploration-f…

https://www.iol.co.za/mercury/news/sdcea-appeals-against-exploration-for-oil-and-gas-on-kzn-coastline-35645865?fbclid=IwAR0Frbkd714AohYjfvgmysrl5_vPDmJ4-93_zMg8iXvm4SBjKZqAKn9g-nE

BENELEX contributes to UNEP Course for Multilateral Environmental Agreement negotiators

October 2019: BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera contributed to the 16th edition of the annual Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreement Negotiations organized by the UN Environment Programme and the University of Eastern Finland under the theme ‘’Emerging issues in International Environmental Law.’ Elisa was invited to deliver a keynote speech at the start of the course, titled “Is International Law and Governance Equipped to Deal with Emerging Environmental Issues? A Scholarly Perspective” (available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdJ4hbNWHbs.)

In addition, Elisa facilitated an interactive discussion among participants on the options for protecting marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, together with Charlotte Salpin, Legal Officer, UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, and a panel discussion on emerging Issues in International Biodiversity Law.

Furthermore, Elisa co-design with colleagues at University of Eastern Finland the negotiation exercise for this year’s cohort of course participants, which was based on the ongoing UN negotiations on a new legally binding instrument on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. One of the groups focused on fair and equitable benefit-sharing. Elisa also supported the negotiation exercise and provided feedback to participants.

BENELEX PI invited to Opening Panel of the Annual Science Conference of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

On 9th September 2019, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera was invited to contribute to an opening panel on the science-policy interface at the Annual Science Conference of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, which is an intergovernmental marine science organization that seeks to advance and share scientific understanding of marine ecosystems and the services they provide and to use this knowledge to generate state-of-the-art advice for meeting conservation, management, and sustainability goals. The conference was held at Gothenburg, Sweden  gathered 763 participants from 38 countries, including 175 early career scientists.

The opening sessions was focused on ‘science policy needs and challenges for achieving SDG14’ and included contributions from a distinguished panel comprising  Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of the World Maritime University​, Katherine Richardson, Sustainability Science Centre, University of Copenhagen, Manuel Barange​, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and Vladimir Ryabinin​, The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. The video-recording of the panel wen can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMaASSGYayg&feature=youtu.be&t=2393.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea is a network of more than 5,000 scientists from over 700 marine institutes in our 20 member countries and beyond. 1,500 scientists participate in our activities annually. Through strategic partnerships they work in the Atlantic Ocean also extends into the Arctic, the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and the North Pacific Ocean.

BENELEX at 2019 UN Environment Assembly

Prof Elisa Morgera was invited by the UN Environment Programme to contribute to the Innovation Expo on the side-lines of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya (11-15 March 2019). On 11th March 2018, Elisa shared insights on the role of law for inclusive sustainability on the basis of the BENELEX project findings at a session titled “Legal Empowerment: Leaving No one Behind in Decision-Making on Sustainability). Elisa then moderated a panel featuring: UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment David Boyd; the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Ralph Payet; and BENELEX partner NGO Natural Justice, among others. Elisa's remarks were based on her article "Under the radar: the role of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in protecting and realising human rights connected to natural resources" which has been recently published in the International Journal of Human Rights and a BENELEX learning module (soon to be available in French, Spanish and Greek).

BENELEX at Glasgow University TEDx Talks

On 2nd March 2019, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera participated in the Glasgow University TEDx Talks. Her talk focused on BENELEX findings on indigenous peoples' human rights to natural resources and benefitted from insights from the field work in Argentina with partner NGO FARN. The talk was based on Morgera’s article "Under the radar: the role of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in protecting and realising human rights connected to natural resources" which has been recently published in the International Journal of Human Rights and BENELEX Working Paper No 19 Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to Natural Resources in Argentina: The Challenges of Impact Assessment, Consent and Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing in Cases of Lithium Mining”. The illustrations were by former BENELEX visiting researcher Dr Margherita Brunori, and feature in the BENELEX module on indigenous peoples' rights to natural resources.

BENELEX Report 2013-2018

In January 2019, the BENELEX team has published a report on its activities, outputs and events over the last 5 years. Download the BENELEX Report 2013-2018 now.

2018

Elsa Tsioumani delivers a training on access and benefit-sharing in Albania

On 17-18 December 2018, BeneLex researcher Elsa Tsioumani delivered a training on mutually supportive implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) to Albanian government officials, stakeholders, and genebank managers in Tirana, Albania. The training included sessions on the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol on ABS, the ITPGRFA, and the EU Regulation 511/2014 on compliance measures for users. It featured practical cases on mutually supportive implementation, including in the absence of national legislation and on specific topics such as plant genetic resources in situ and farmers' varieties.

BENELEX at the UN Biodiversity Conference

Benelex researcher Mika Schroeder shared findings from different strands of research under the project at the Rio Conventions Pavillion on 21 November 2018, on the sidelines of the UN Biodiversity Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. During the session “Human Rights and Biodiversity: How to Design the Post-2020 Governance System”, Ms Schröder presented on behalf of BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera key findings from BENELEX Working Paper 10REV on indigenous peoples’ rights to natural resources. She drew attention to the 2018 UN Framework Principles developed by the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment. She highlighted how UN Framework Principle 15, which requires States to comply with their obligations to indigenous peoples and local communities, can help determine the parameters of fairness and equity of benefit-sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). She further noted that international biodiversity law can provide specific guidance for the adoption of best practices for impact assessment and for the full realization of human rights, through the Akwé: Kon Guidelines and the CBD Articles 8(j) and 10." During the session “Besides governments – the future of biodiversity governance for civil society,” Mika presented an analysis of participation within CBD COP decisions that is co-producing with BENELEX researcher Louisa Parks. She emphasized the importance of communicating the need for local stakeholder participation, empowering stakeholders, and holding states accountable to ensure participation. BENELEX contributions were included in the report of the Pavillion, which can be found here.

Mika also presented BENELEX Working Paper 10REV on indigenous peoples’ rights to natural resources during a side-event on 25th November titled “Rethinking Biodiversity Governance: ingredients for the post-2020 global plan for biodiversity” , which was co-organized by BENELEX .

BENELEX at the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity

In September 2018, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera and SCELG researcher Mara Ntona published, with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a policy brief on the benefit-sharing dimensions of capacity building and technology transfer in a new treaty under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction as an input to the upcoming negotiations of a new treaty on marine biodiversity at the UN in New York. The policy brief was presented at the first session of the Intergovernmental Conference on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction at UN Headquarters in New York in September 2018. The policy brief is available in English and French.
 
In addition, BENELEX researcher Daniela Diz contributed to two side-events at the first session of the Intergovernmental Conference. On 4th September 2018 Dr Diz was invited to contribute to the side-event “Building Marine Spatial Planning frameworks to enable Blue Growth” organized by Fondation Institut de recherche pour le développement durable et les relations internationales (IDDRI), the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative and other colleagues. Daniela presented on area-based management tools, adapted from her open-access paper Daniela Diz et al, 'Mainstreaming Marine Biodiversity into the SDGs: The Role of Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (SDG 14.5)' (2018) 93 Marine Policy 251-261. The paper had been prepared under BENELEX’s sister project, Marine Benefits.

On 5th September 2018, Dr Diz was invited to contribute to the side-event “Scientific and technical work of the CBD contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction” organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The side event discussed 25 years of experience under the CBD that contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Dr Diz presented the key findings of the consultancy report prepared by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance on Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas.

A summary of the side event can be found here.

BENELEX Provides Comments on Ethical BioTrade Standards

In September 2018, BENELEX has contributed to the public consultation on the periodic review of the Ethical Biotrade Standards which set good practices for how companies and their suppliers source natural ingredients with respect for people and biodiversity. As part of a public consultation, BENELEX submitted comments on:  fair and equitable benefit-sharing as an ongoing process of partnership-building; the relevance of CBD decisions, including the 2016 the Mo’otz kuxtal guidelines; relevant international human rights law standards for indigenous peoples; and the relevance of the UN Framework Principle on Human Rights and the Environment.

BENELEX and IIED Policy Brief on Capacity Building and Marine Technology Transfer

In August 2018, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera and SCELG researcher Mara Ntona published with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) a policy brief on the benefit-sharing dimensions of capacity building and technology transfer in a new treaty under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction as an input to the upcoming negotiations of a new treaty on marine biodiversity at the UN in New York. The policy brief was presented at the at the first session of the Intergovernmental Conference on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction at UN Headquarters in New York in September 2018.

http://pubs.iied.org/17479IIED/ (English)

BENELEX Contributes to UNEP Course on Human Rights and the Environment

On 24th August 2018, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera was invited to contribute to the 15th University of Eastern Finland-UN Environment Course on MEAs on the ‘Environment and Human Rights’ in Joensuu, Finland. The 15th edition of the course gathered 33 participants from 28 countries. Morgera delivered a 1-hour lecture on fair and equitable benefit-sharing at the intersection of international human rights and biodiversity law. The lecture will be included in the 2018 International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy Review that will be published online and in book form in 2019.

BENELEX Contributes to FAO Draft Guide on Legislation for Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries

In August 2018, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera was invited by FAO to peer review a draft guide on legislating for sustainable small-scale fisheries. Morgera's comments were based on the findings of the sister project MARINE BENEFITS, which focused on global to local legal approaches to sharing the benefits of sustainable fisheries, including under the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication.

BENELEX at Cambridge Conservation Initiative Expert Meeting

On 10-12 April 2018, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera was invited to contribute to the ‘Cambridge Conservation Initiative Expert Meeting: Framing the Future for Biodiversity' to provide inputs into a new global biodiversity framework to succeed the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the extent to which data, science, information and knowledge have been effectively used in developing targets and addressing them. Outputs from the expert meeting were shared with governments and other stakeholders at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in July 2018 in Montreal, Canada, when governments debated the process for negotiating a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The expert meeting’s results included the evidence base that is needed, the types of evidence that currently exist, and gaps in evidence or mechanisms for delivering it with regard to:

  • the pathways that will lead us to (or away from) the 2050 Vision already agreed by governments;
  • the scale and possible mixes of policies that are going to get us on these pathways;
  • the policy instruments and tools that will be most effective in delivering these policies;
  • the framework (targets) that would motivate such policies and interventions being put in place; and
  • the monitoring, indicators and reporting that would promote implementation and accountability.

Prof Morgera was also invited to attend a panel discussion with Sir David Attenborough, the CBD Executive Secretary and heads of environmental NGOs. Watch a recording of the discussion here.

Benelex contributes to IPBES Global Assessment

BeneLex researcher Elsa Tsioumani was invited to serve as a contributing author to the Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). She contributed to Chapter 3 (Assessing progress towards meeting major international objectives related to biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services) with focus on the role of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Benelex contributes to UNEP-UNDP Webinar on Human Rights and the Environment
On 19 April 2018, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera shared her views on the relevance of human rights and the environment for the post-2020 biodiversity framework, based on BENELEX research findings, during a webinar organized by UNEP and UNDP.
Benelex and IIED produce a policy brief on benefit-sharing in relation to marine genetic resources of areas beyond national jurisdiction

In March 2018, BENELEX PI Elisa Morgera published with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) a policy brief on the importance of focusing on "fair and equity" and on "sharing" with regard to benefit-sharing from the use of marine genetic resources in a new treaty under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction: http://pubs.iied.org/17462IIED/

2017

BENELEX PI at World Forum on Natural Capital

On 27th November 2017, Elisa Morgera was invited to participate in the World Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh, UK. She participated in the interactive panel on "a new policy landscape" and shared relevant findings on fair and equitable benefit-sharing and human rights from a BENELEX paper.

BENELEX PI at CBD Bogis Bossy Dialogue

On 12-14 November, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera was invited by the CBD Secretariat to contribute to the 2017 Bogis Bossy Dialogue for Biodiversity held in Switzerland. The dialogue was seeking to spark a provocative, framing reflection to identify a transformative agenda for action that will engage multi-level systemic change in all sectors and domains that have an impact on, or benefit from, biodiversity, with a view to contributing to discussions on an ambitious, yet pragmatic and innovative post-2020 Global Biodiversity Agenda. The dialogue was organized with support from the United Nations Development Programme, and its findings will be used as a catalyst for subsequent consultations meetings throughout 2018, and in the lead up to 2020.

The dialogue findings were brought to the attention of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, meeting in December 2017 in Montreal, Canada.

Consultancy on Nagoya Protocol Article 4

October 2017: BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera, BeneLex researcher Elsa Tsioumani and SCELG colleague Stephanie Switzer have been awarded an international consultancy by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to prepare a study on possible criteria to identify what constitutes a “specialized international access and benefit-sharing instrument” in the context of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing. The study will also investigate a possible process for recognizing such specialized instruments. The study will be considered by parties to the Nagoya Protocol in 2018.

BENELEX researchers Elisa Morgera and Elsa Tsioumani, and Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance colleague Stephanie Switzer have prepared a report for the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on criteria to identify a specialized international access and benefit-sharing instrument, and a possible process for its recognition. The report will be discussed at the upcoming Second meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Implementation (9 -13 July 2018, Montreal, Canada): https://www.cbd.int/doc/c/9376/a644/1bed20a1837af8e3d1edc5f9/sbi-02-inf-17-en.pdf

BENELEX side-event at CBD intersessionals

December 2017: BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera and MARINE BENEFITS researcher Daniela Diz ran a side-event titled "Mainstreaming Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services into the Fisheries Sector for Sustainable Development." The event explored lessons learned from the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) fisheries projects on the integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services into the fisheries sector, including as part of the ecosystem approach, and the mainstreaming of Aichi Biodiversity Targets into the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

BENELEX at the Expert Group on SDG 2

June 2017: BENELEX researcher Elsa Tsioumani was invited to contribute to the Expert Group Meeting on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (no hunger), held from 12-13 June 2017, at the UN Headquarters in New York. The expert group produced a set of key messages, which will be forwarded to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, to be held in July 2017. These messages address, among other issues: the need for transformative change to create sustainable food systems; the importance of diversity across the production chain; the need for strong legal systems and a rights-based approach; and the centrality of smallholders and family farmers. For further information click here

BENELEX and MARINE BENEFITS at the UN Ocean Conference

June 2017: Prof Elisa Morgera and Dr. Daniela Diz from the Marine Benefits project attended the Ocean Conference at the UN from 5-9 June 2017, and organized a side-event entitled SDGs and the blue economy: Investing in Marine Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation. The side-event was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Eritrea to the United Nations, in partnership with the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme, the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI), the UK Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), and Marine Scotland. The side event discussed blue economy concepts and investment in natural capital in the context of SDG 14, as well as relevant findings from fisheries-related ESPA projects, including the Marine Benefits project and its upcoming Marine Policy Journal Special Issue on SDG 14.

BENELEX on the sidelines of the Bonn climate negotiations

May 2017: BENELEX researcher Kim Bouwer attended the climate negotiations in Bonn. Dr Bouwer participated in the second workshop of the Climate Law and Governance Initiative, on 13 May, at the Ameron Konigshof Hotel, Bonn. She served as an intervenor during the second session on ‘Empowering civil society and using legal means to advance climate justice and ambition’. Dr Bouwer also presented a paper at the ‘Clear-eyed equity: setting a climate equity and justice research agenda’ workshop, run by the German Development Institute on 15 May, at Tulpenfeld 6, Bonn, on the potential for benefit-sharing approaches to support the achievement of equity in the mobilisation and distribution of climate finance.

 

BENELEX at the UN negotiations on marine biodiversity

March 2017: BENELEX and MARINE BENEFITS were very pleased to partner with WWF and the World Health Organization (WHO) to host a side-event at the United Nations in New York on 27 March, on the side-lines of the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the development of an international legally binding instrument on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. The event was titled “Experiences of Benefit-Sharing Regimes and their Potential Relevance to Marine Genetic Resources and Capacity Building in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction.” BENELEX PI Morgera, Director of the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, shared comparative insights into existing international regimes for fair and equitable benefit sharing, as well as the relevance of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in relation to marine scientific collaboration, capacity building and technology transfer. Dr Daniela Diz, SCELG member and MARINE BENEFITS researcher, shared reflections on the linkages between environmental impact assessments and benefit-sharing. Steven Solomon, WHO Principal Legal Advisor, explained the specific features and opportunities of the World Health Organisation’s Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework. Jessica Battle (WWF) offered opening and closing remarks at the event; and Angel Horna, Peru, chaired the event.

 

MARINE BENEFITS at SIDS event in Brussels

March 2017: Dr Daniela Diz of the Marine Benefits project was invited to participate in the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Capacity Development Aspects in the BBNJ (Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction) process, which took place on 7-9 March 2017 in Oostende and Brussels, Belgium. The workshop, co-organised by the Government of Belgium and UNESCO, aimed at contributing to the ongoing negotiations on a new international treaty on marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction in New York, by discussing capacity building needs and SIDS priorities regarding marine biodiversity, as well as climate change.  The workshop, held under Chatham House rules, was attended by high-level government officials, UN and inter-governmental officials, civil society and academia and discussed capacity building and technology transfer with regards to marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments and marine genetic resources.

2016

Prof Elisa Morgera contributes to side-event on 'Biodiversity Governance – identifying knowledge gaps and needed research activities' in Cancun

December 2016, BENELEX  co-organised a side-event during the upcoming meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (4 - 17 December 2016, Cancun, Mexico), in collaboration with SCELG, Director Prof Elisa Morgera will contribute to the event “Biodiversity Governance – identifying knowledge gaps and needed research activities”. The event provided an opportunity to share Prof Morgera’s recent findings on benefit-sharing related to natural resource-related human rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and engage the audience in participatory identification of the directions that social science research should take to support your participation in CBD processes and implementation.

Highlighting several “contact points” between international biodiversity law and international human rights law, Elisa, shared findings from the BENELEX project that suggest that human rights standards can provide specific standards for understanding when benefit sharing is fair and equitable, and that international biodiversity law provides specific guidelines on how to put human rights precepts into practice.

BeneLex and Marine Benefits organise side-event on Tenure Governance and the Sustainable Development Goals: Leaving no-one behind in the land and fisheries sectors at the Committee on World Food Security.

October 2016: The BENELEX and MARINE BENEFITS projects, in collaboration with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the FAO Legal Office, organised the side event "Tenure Governance and the Sustainable Development Goals: Leaving no-one behind in the land and fisheries sectors?" on 20 October 2016, at the Committee on World Food Security in Rome, Italy.

The event explored legal and policy tools aiming to inject fairness and equity in tenure governance and sustainable development. Focusing on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT). The event also highlighted research on lessons and challenges arising from the application of the concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in the land, food, agriculture and fisheries sectors, and explore the ‘leave no-one behind’ concept on the basis of case studies from the fisheries sector.

BeneLex researchers Elisa Morgera and Elsa Tsioumani, with Daniela Diz from the Marine Benefits project, were joined by IIED's Lorenzo Cotula and Dave Steinbach, and FAO's Margret Vidar, to discuss challenges and opportunities arising from the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. 


2016 Annual Science Conference of the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme
The conference focused on synthesising learning across projects to answer the following questions: How do ecosystem services influence human well-being in different ecosystems / locations and for different socio-economic groups? How will this change over time and what is driving this change? What options exist to mediate linkages so that human well-being is enhanced and ecosystems are conserved? What are the barriers / uncertainties inhibiting simultaneous achievement of the conservation and development outcomes and how can we overcome them? This includes those relating to governance and decision-making. Dr Daniela Diz presented the findings of the MARINE BENEFITS project on fair and equitable benefit-sharing from sustainable fisheries. Find out more.
UN expert consultation on biodiversity and human rights
BeneLex and MARINE BENEFITS PI Elisa Morgera has been invited to contribute to the consultation, organized in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), as part of the 2016 thematic project studying human rights obligations pertaining to biodiversity and ecosystems of the UN Special Rapporteur John Knox. The report aims to clarify how human rights obligations apply to conservation policies and programmes, how conservation can support human rights, and best practices in avoiding any conflicts between the worthwhile goals of conserving biodiversity and ecosystems, on the one hand, and safeguarding human rights, on the  other. The consultation will gather approximately 20-25 participants, with a wide range of experience and expertise in human rights and/or conservation, including representatives of international  institutions and civil society organizations as well as academics. Discussions, challenges and lessons learned identified through the consultation will help to inform my next report to the  UN Human Rights Council, to be presented in March 2017.
BeneLex side-event at 20th Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity
On 25 April 2016, BeneLex and MARINE BENEFITS hosted a side-event titled “Fair and Equitable Benefit-sharing from Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use, Climate Responses and Sustainable Fisheries” in Montreal during the Twentieth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The event was chaired by Prof Nicole Schabus, an expert in constitutional, criminal, Aboriginal and environmental law at Thompson River University (Kamloops, BC, Canada). PI Elisa Morgera, BeneLex researcher Annalisa Savaresi and MARINE BENEFITS researcher Daniela Diz shared findings on: 
1) fair and equitable benefit-sharing from the sustainable use of natural resources (extractives, tourism and conservation) in indigenous peoples’ territories, in light of recent international human rights case law; 
2) fair and equitable benefit-sharing from the use of traditional knowledge (including for non-commercial purposes), with particular attention to the climate change regime; and 
3) fair and equitable benefit-sharing from sustainable fisheries, based on recent developments in the international law of the sea concerning small-scale fisheries communities, as well as practice related to marine ecosystem services and poverty alleviation.
Ensuing discussion focused on inter-generational equity and on the role of interdisciplinarity. The views exchanged at the event will inform our research on these topics. We will share our papers online to seek further feedback as soon as possible
BeneLex and Marine Benefits invited to IIED expert meeting on "Leaving no one behind"

On 15 April 2016, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera and Marine Benefit researcher Daniela Diz were invited to contribute to an expert meeting organised by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London on the concept of "leave no one behind" and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting focused on developing a working definition, principles and an analytical framework for the concept of "Leave No One Behind," including on the basis of BeneLex international law research on fair and equitable benefit-sharing and the right to development and of the Marine Benefits research on equity and benefit-sharing in the fisheries sector. 

BeneLex contributes to symposium "Rights and Resources: Community Engagement with Extractive Industries"
On 14 April 2016, BeneLex research Louisa Parks attended a symposium organised by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Natural Justice entitled ‘Rights and Resources: Community Engagement with Extractive Industries’ in Berlin. The event included presentations on community protocol processes in Argentina, India, Kenya and Zimbabwe, as part of an action research project led by Natural Justice and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Discussions focused on lessons learned and best practices. During a world cafe session discussing a variety of issues linked to community protocols, Parks facilitated discussions on options for benefit-sharing in the context of extractive industries alongside a colleague from the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
BeneLex contributes to IUCN workshop on marine genetic resources
On 2 April 2016, BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera participated in the workshop "Challenges and opportunities for addressing marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction" organised by IUCN at New York University. Several delegations participating in the first session of the Preparatory Committee on an international legally binding instrument on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction were also in attendance. The event served to discuss factual and legal challenges related to the creation of new international rules on fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from bioprospecting in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction.
BeneLex invited to contribute to Geneva Academy's training on human rights and the environment
BeneLex principal investigator Elisa Morgera was invited to contribute to the Geneva Academy's Training on the protection of human rights & the environment (7-11 March 2016, Geneva, Switzerland). Prof. Morgera's lecture on 10th March focused on human rights and international biodiversity law, including on fair and equitable benefit-sharing and on business' responsibility to respect human rights. Professor John Knox, the UN Special Rapporteur on Environment and Human Rights, will also contribute to the training session. The course was attended by environmental activists, government representatives and university researchers.
BeneLex contributes to CBD Expert Group on multilateral benefit-sharing under Nagoya Protocol

On 1st February 2016, BeneLex principal investigator Elisa Morgera presented, via video conference, a study on multilateral benefit-sharing experiences in international law at the Expert Group Meeting on Article 10 of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity (held in Montreal, Canada from 1-2 February). The study is the result of a consultancy awarded to Prof Morgera by the CBD Secretariat to review and analyse experiences gained with the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, as well as case studies on ex-situ and in-situ genetic resources, traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, and transboundary situations. In addition, the consultancy analysed experiences gained in other multilateral benefit-sharing mechanisms, and assess the potential relevance of ongoing work undertaken by other international processes. The study is expected to inform ongoing intergovernmental negotiations on the possible creation of a global, multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol, which would be used to support the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components globally.

The report "Study on Experiences Gained with the Development and Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and Other Multilateral Mechanisms and the Potential Relevance of Ongoing Work Undertaken by Other Processes, Including Case Studies" is available

2015

BeneLex contributes to side-event on REDD+ at the Paris Climate Conference
On 30th November 2015, the BeneLex team contributed to the side-event on "REDD+, international human rights and biodiversity law" at the Paris Climate Conference. The side-event was organized by L’Association française des Nations Unies d’Aix-en-Provence, l’Organisation internationale de la francophonie and the government of Madagascar, in cooperation with the research projects CIRCULEX (Circulations de normes et réseaux d’acteurs dans la gouvernance internationale de l’environnement), PRIGOUE (Une privatisation de la gouvernance globale de l'environnement? Rôles des standards durables multi-acteurs dans la régulation des CEP) and BeneLex. Elisa Morgera and Annalisa Savaresi presented BeneLex research on REDD+ and fair and equitable benefit-sharing, focusing on the interplay between international climate change, biodiversity and human rights law. The papers presented at the event can be found at http://tinyurl.com/j8wojs3.
BeneLex contributes to expert workshop on developing an equity framework on protected area governance

On 12th November 2015, BeneLex principal investigator Elisa Morgera was invited to contribute to an expert workshop on developing an equity framework for protected area governance, which was organised by the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, UK. The workshop gathered academics from different disciplines and conservation to discuss how to better understand and promote equitable protected areas governance and how to measure progress towards achieving that end, and to identify opportunities for engaging in key international processes. 

 

As a result of the workshop, IIED published a briefing on advancing equity in protected areas, according to which "equitable distribution of costs and sharing of benefits relies on the recognition of power dynamics and strong procedures to avoid the elite capture of benefits and the imposition of unmitigated costs on particular groups." The proposed equity framework includes that "Benefits shared among relevant actors according to one or more of the following criteria: equally between relevant actors, or according to contribution to conservation, costs incurred, recognised rights and/or the needs of the poorest; and benefits to the current generation do not compromise benefits to future generations." Read the policy brief.

BeneLex side-event at the ninth meeting of the Working Group on Traditional Knowledge of the Convention on Biological Diversity
On 6th November 2015, the BeneLex team organized the side-event “Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing for the Protection and Full Realization of the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities: Challenges and Opportunities in International Law” at the Ninth meeting of the Ad HocOpen-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Montreal, Canada, from 4-7 November 2015. The event aimed to discuss new research findings on actual and potential interactions between the CBD and international human rights law on fair and equitable benefit-sharing of relevance to indigenous peoples and local communities. In particular, the event focused on: benefit-sharing from the sustainable use of natural resources (not only genetic resources, but also extractives, tourism and conservation) and from the use of traditional knowledge (including for non-commercial purposes); lessons learnt in case studies in South Africa (access to protected areas), Namibia (traditional management of protected areas), Argentina (mining in indigenous lands), Malaysia (agricultural development in indigenous land) and Greece (traditional pastoralism); and opportunities for benefit-sharing to address equity issues from global to local levels in relation to fisheries, marine ecosystem services and poverty alleviation (the latter based on our sister project Marine Benefits).
BeneLex side-event at the sixth meeting of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
The BeneLex team organized a side-event during the sixth meeting of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) in Rome, Italy, on 8th October 2015. The event provided an opportunity for stakeholders to express views on and provide inputs into ongoing research on fair and equitable benefit-sharing related to agriculture, land and food under the BeneLex project. BeneLex PI Elisa Morgera presented a proposed conceptualization of fair and equitable benefit-sharing that cuts across different areas of international law, and shared lessons learnt across existing multilateral benefit-sharing mechanisms. Louisa Parks discussed preliminary findings concerning indigenous and local communities' benefit-sharing experience on the ground, with a particular focus on agriculture in Malaysia and pastoralism in Greece. Elsa Tsioumani shared preliminary findings from research on fair and equitable benefit-sharing in the agriculture and land sector, including on linking the ITPGR provisions with relevant human rights discourses and land-related instruments. In the ensuing discussions, participants highlighted, among other things, the need to: factor in multiple layers of complexity under international benefit-sharing regimes, question the role and limitations of international law in pursuing equity, and further investigate the role of non-monetary benefit-sharing for development purposes.
BeneLex contributes to UNESCO “Our Common Future under Climate Change” Conference

On 8th July 2015, BeneLex researcher Annalisa Savaresi participated in the scientific conference “Our common future under climate change” held in Paris at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The conference aimed to share knowledge and exchange ideas on key issues concerning climate change, with over 2,000 participants from different sectors. The conference was the largest forum for the scientific community to come together ahead of the 21st Climate Conference (COP21), which will be hosted by France in December 2015 and is expected to adopt a new international climate agreement.

Dr Savaresi contributed to the session on “Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Science in Collaboration for Our Common Future,” with a presentation on "traditional knowledge and benefit-sharing in the 2015 agreement," in which she reflected on the scope for elaborating a common approach to the use of traditional knowledge under the climate regime, building on extant international law. The session also saw the participation of Victoria Tauli Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

BeneLex researchers Invited to Expert Workshop on Equity, Justice and Well-being in Ecosystem Governance
On 26-27th March 2015, BeneLex principal investigator Elisa Morgera and researcher Annalisa Savaresi were invited to contribute to an expert workshop on equity, justice and well-being in ecosystem governance organised by the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, UK. The workshop gathered academics from different disciplines and conservation and REDD+ practitioners. The BeneLex contributed its preliminary findings on the role of equity in international environmental and human rights law, focusing in particular on the evolution of the legal concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing and its relevance for the governance of protected areas and REDD+ activities.
BeneLex researchers invited to join Global Specialist Group on Access and Benefit-sharing
In February 2015, BeneLex principal investigator Elisa Morgera and researcher Elsa Tsioumani were invited to join a newly established Global Specialist Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) and Related Issues, under the aegis of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law. The establishment of the Specialist Group was called for under the IUCN World Conservation Congress Resolution 115 on Support for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, in order “to provide the necessary technical assistance to Parties and other stakeholders as appropriate, for the development of ABS laws, regulations and policies as a vital part of national ratification processes” and “to further support … the operationalisation of the Nagoya Protocol by promoting awareness raising and capacity development initiatives”.
BeneLex researcher participates in brainstorming workshop on the ITPGR Benefit-Sharing Fund
On 17th January 2015, BeneLex researcher Elsa Tsioumani was invited to participate in a brainstorming workshop organized by the Swiss government, which explored possible investment strategies for the Benefit-Sharing Fund of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR). The workshop was held at the Città dell’Altra Economia in Rome, Italy, and gathered approximately 25 invited participants from governments, national and international agricultural research centers, farmers’ organizations, NGOs, academia and the private sector. The workshop reviewed benefit-sharing practices under the Treaty and explored potential resource allocation strategies. Its focus was thus different from the mandate of the ITPGR Working Group to Enhance the Functioning of the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing, which centers on resource mobilization, in particular through user-based payments and contributions to the Benefit-Sharing Fund.

2014

BeneLex participates in the 3rd UNITAR-Yale Conference on Environmental Governance & Democracy
In September 2014 BeneLex was presented at the 3rd UNITAR-Yale Conference on Environmental Governance & Democracy, held at Yale University, New Haven, USA. The conference saw the participation of Professor John Knox, Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment, who gathered data towards the fulfillment of his mandate to identify, promote and exchange views on best practices on the use of human rights obligations and commitments to inform, support and strengthen environmental policymaking. Professor Knox invited all participants to contribute to a survey on the issue, the results of which are due to be presented to the Human Rights Council in March 2015. The BeneLex team will contribute to the survey by submitting information on benefit-sharing practices.
BeneLex contributes to CBD/IDLO event
On 21st June 2014, Dr Elisa Morgera (BeneLex Principal Investigator) was invited to participate in the Roundtable on Legal Preparedness for the Implementation and Mainstreaming of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans organised by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO). Dr Morgera contributed perspectives on the role of law and of benefit-sharing as a speaker in a Knowledge Cafe' Session, and as a moderator in the afternoon break-out group session. BeneLex publications were displayed at the event's Knowledge Sharefair.
BeneLex invited to contribute to UNEP Handbook
In May 2014, Dr Elisa Morgera (BeneLex Principal Investigator) was invited to peer review the third edition of the Handbook on Trade and the Environment, focused on the green economy, produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
Benefit-sharing and the law: unraveling the Nagoya Protocol and mapping other opportunities for benefit-sharing
On 27th February 2014, Dr Elisa Morgera and Elsa Tsioumani organised a side-event during the third meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity (Pyeongchang, Korea, 24-28 February 2014). The event provided an opportunity to introduce international stakeholders to the BeneLex project, as well as the findings of previous research conducted by Morgera and Tsioumani on benefit-sharing in the context of the Nagoya Protocol. Participants were invited to exchange ideas on the role of benefit-sharing in ensuring equitable, constructive and culturally appropriate legal arrangements to not only in relation to access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge, but also climate change and the sustainable management of forests, oceans and lands. The Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Braulio Dias, and around 50 participants representing national governments, intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and think tanks participated in the event.

2013

BeneLex contributes to Scotland's International Conference on Climate Justice

On 9th October 2013, the International Conference on Climate Justice hosted by the Scottish Government took place in Edinburgh, bringing together businesses, government and civil society to explore how climate justice can reinforce the case for transitioning to a low-carbon economy; delivering jobs, investment, trade and growth; and putting people and human rights at the heart of equitable global sustainable development.

The BeneLex team was invited to contribute to the event by giving an interview on means that may be deployed to achieve climate justice. Dr. Savaresi explained how the concept of benefit- sharing could be instrumental in ensuring a transition towards a more equitable allocation of advantages deriving from climate change mitigation and adaptation, from the global to the local level. As an example, she said that action to curb greenhouse gas emissions from forests provides an unprecedented opportunity not only to assist developing countries in fighting climate change but also to protect and reward forest stewardship by indigenous peoples and local communities. Dr. Savaresi explained that one of the aims of the BeneLex project is to assess how a shift from a burden-sharing to a benefit-sharing approach may help reconcile competing state interests, and different ethical and cultural views within states with regard to effectively tackling climate change.