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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1139
Number of pages42
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights
Issue number7
Early online date22 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2019


  • international environmental law
  • international human rights law
  • indigenous peoples
  • local communities
  • natural resources
  • biodiversity

Cite this