Applying a UNDRIP Lens to the CBD: A More Comprehensive Understanding of Benefit-Sharing
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The special relationship of indigenous peoples with the territories in which they live and the natural resources located therein has been recognized in Principle 22 of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Given the close link between the preservation of indigenous peoples’ ways of life, traditions, and knowledge, on the one hand, and the protection of biological diversity, on the other, this paper argues that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous can be used as a powerful instrument to suggest an evolutionary interpretation of some of the provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In particular, indigenous peoples’ rights to land, natural resources, traditional knowledge, as well as their right to a healthy and protected environment are analysed in order to provide a more comprehensive interpretation of CBD article 8(j). A careful reading of the above-mentioned rights makes it possible to reinforce the interpretation that while implementing the provisions on access to genetic resources and State-to-community benefit sharing, CBD parties shall take into account the rights of indigenous peoples as affirmed by the UNDRIP. Furthermore, the UNDRIP offers specific indications on the procedural measures needed to implement those rights (free prior informed consent and participation rights). In this respect, it is argued that these procedural mechanisms offer a partial response to the challenges posed by the concrete implementation of the UNDRIP.