Realising the objectives of public international environmental law through private contracts: the need for a dialogue with private international law scholars

Elisa Morgera, Lorna Gillies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter maps little-studied interactions between public and private international law by comparing experiences in using private contracts to specify the meaning of international environmental treaty objectives that relate to equity (namely, fair and equitable benefit-sharing). In particular, the chapter contrasts two possible approaches in relying on private contracts: a bilateral approach – that is, reliance on ad hoc contracts under the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing (ABS) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – and a multilateral approach, namely reliance on standardised contractual clauses that have been developed intergovernmentally under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (International Treaty). In both cases, private contracts have played a key role in specifying the meaning of certain obligations that were left vague in the treaty text in relation to the objective of equity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLinkages and Boundaries in Private and Public International Law
EditorsVeronica Ruiz Abou-Nigm , Kasey McCall-Smith , Duncan French
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2018


  • international law
  • private contracts
  • environmental treaties

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