An International Legal Concept of Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing

31 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2015 Last revised: 31 Aug 2015

Date Written: July 20, 2015


Fair and equitable benefit-sharing is a diffuse legal phenomenon in international law that has elicited little investigation with regard to its nature, extent and implications. It has been mostly studied as the cornerstone of the international legal regime on bioprospecting. But, under the radar, a growing number of international legal materials refer to "benefit-sharing" with regard to natural resource use, environmental protection and the use of knowledge. Against this background, this article aims to develop a concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing deriving from international environmental law, international human rights law and the law of the sea, with a view to shifting the investigation from current sectoral/technical approaches to the perspective of general international law. The conclusions will develop a research agenda on the basis of the proposed conceptualization.

Keywords: Benefit-sharing, equity, biodiversity, human rights, law of the sea

Suggested Citation

Morgera, Elisa, An International Legal Concept of Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing (July 20, 2015). Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2015/20, BENELEX Working Paper N. 6, Available at SSRN: or

Elisa Morgera (Contact Author)

Strathclyde Law School ( email )

Lord Hope Building
141 St James Rd
Glasgow 1XQ, Scotland
United Kingdom


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