Under the radar : the role of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in protecting and realising human rights connected to natural resources

Morgera, Elisa (2019) Under the radar : the role of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in protecting and realising human rights connected to natural resources. International Journal of Human Rights, 23 (7). pp. 1098-1139. ISSN 1744-053X

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    Abstract

    This article assess the degree of cross-fertilisation of international human rights and environmental law on fair and equitable benefit-sharing in relation to the human rights of indigenous peoples and local communities over natural resources. It also explores further avenues to develop a mutually supportive interpretation by strategically analysing the interplay of international benefit-sharing obligations with environmental assessment and free prior informed consent. This will serve to substantiate four inter-linked claims. Benefit-sharing has a substantive core linked to communities’ choice and capabilities, as well as a procedural one linked to communities’ agency as part of a concerted, culturally appropriate and iterative dialogue with the State. Benefit-sharing expands considerably the scope and approach of environmental assessments and consultation practices, having the potential to move towards a transformative collaboration in light of multiple worldviews. Benefit-sharing should then be distinguished from compensation, with which it is often conflated, as it does not depend upon a violation of a right. Finally, the proposed interpretation has implications for understanding the status of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in international law, as well as for businesses’ due diligence to respect the human rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.