BeneLex researchers Parks and Tsioumani publish open-access monographs on fair and equitable benefit-sharing

Dec 2020 — Assoc. Professor Louisa Parks and Dr. Elsa Tsioumani have published two monographs, which incorporate their research outcomes as part of the five-year long ERC BeneLex project. Titled Benefit-sharing in Environmental Governance: Local Experiences of a Global Concept and Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing in Agriculture: Reinventing Agrarian Justice respectively, the books are available open-access by Routledge.


Image: Margherita Brunori

The BeneLex project (PI Elisa Morgera) investigated the conceptual and practical dimensions of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in different areas of international environmental law, and from the global to the local level. It run from 2013 to 2018.

In Benefit-sharing in Environmental Governance, Louisa Parks, Associate Professor of Political Sociology at the School of International Studies and the Department of Sociology and Social Research, Università degli studi di Trento, Italy, draws on original case studies from South Africa, Namibia, Greece, Argentina, and Malaysia to shed light on what benefit-sharing looks like from the local viewpoint. Common themes in the experiences of local communities form the basis for an exploration of spaces for local voices at the international level in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The book then situates the bottom-up findings in the wider debate about global civil society and deliberative democracy in environmental governance.

In Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing in Agriculture, SCELG Affiliate Elsa Tsioumani explores the emergence and development of benefit-sharing, and challenges regarding its application in agriculture. She addresses several instances of the agricultural production chain, including research and development, land governance and land use, and access to markets, with a focus on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants. Linking international law research with a socio-legal analysis, she addresses four grassroots examples, which offer ideas for institutional and legal innovation: participatory plant breeding; open-source applications in agricultural research and development; the Peliti seed community in Greece; and the Potato Park in the Peruvian Andes.