Rethinking Differential Obligations: Equity Under the Biodiversity Convention


Alastair Iles


biodiversity, bioprospecting, Convention on Biological Diversity, differential obligations, equity, international environmental law


Leiden Journal of International Law

Year Published:


Policy Summary

There are two concrete steps that international environmental law can take to rework differential obligations in the form of environmental justice. First, asymmetric obligations could be designed via policy and administrative action to take account of and strengthen market-based experiments (among other varieties of biodiversity experiments) as alternative development pathways, instead of defining equity only in terms of resource transfers. Differential obligations need to be woven into the policy, institutions, activities and practical work of coupling development with biodiversity protection. The implementation of differential obligations needs to be much more visible and enforcable.

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