E-Learning Series Highlights Access and Benefit Sharing

Natural Justice has developed a draft e-module that aims to provide an introduction to access and benefit sharing– the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources– and its implications for Indigenous peoples and local communities around the world. Access and benefit sharing (ABS) has emerged over the past couple of decades to address the exclusion of indigenous and local communities from development and investment processes by commercial entities in particular.

While international law defines states as the ‘owners’ of genetic resources located within their borders, local communities have both customary and recognized rights over genetic resources and traditional knowledge of those resources. Therefore, those who want to research and use traditional knowledge or genetic resources are obliged to follow certain procedures and uphold standards in collaboration with the appropriate governments and communities.

Despite these laws, ABS does not always live up to its stated aim; for example, communities can be excluded or even dispossessed due to conflicting claims or understandings of relationships with genetic resources and traditional knowledge.  To achieve the best possible results, it is essential that communities to understand their rights and obligations under ABS. This module intends to educate communities about their rights and responsibilities, and how to realize them in practice.
Natural Justice is developing a series of e-learning modules to empower communities with information on key international legal frameworks, concepts, and programs.  To learn about its other modules, please click here.

September 11, 2012 | Namati