The need for an international legal concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing

Morgera, Elisa (2016) The need for an international legal concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing. European Journal of International Law, 27 (2). pp. 353-383. ISSN 0938-5428 (

[thumbnail of Morgera-EJIL2016-need-for-an-international-legal-concept-of-fair-and-equitable-benefit-sharing]
Text. Filename: Morgera_EJIL2016_need_for_an_international_legal_concept_of_fair_and_equitable_benefit_sharing.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript

Download (730kB)| Preview


This article proposes a concept of 'fair and equitable benefit sharing' deriving from international biodiversity law, international human rights law, and the law of the sea. The concept identifies normative elements that are shared among the international treaties that refer to benefit sharing, comprising the act of sharing; the nature of the benefits to be shared; the activities from which benefit sharing arise; the beneficiaries; and fairness and equity as the rationale for benefit sharing in international law. The concept is not intended to provide a holistic or exhaustive notion of fair and equitable benefit sharing but, rather, to support comparison and generalization with a view to shifting the current investigation from sectoral/technical approaches to the perspective of general international law and the contribution to research in other areas of international law. The proposed conceptualization is thus geared towards the development of a research agenda targeting a variety of international and transnational legal materials, allowing for the appreciation of differences in the context of varying logics of different areas of law.