resource providers and research participants. Therefore, in this topic we have taken
a narrower position: those who contribute to the advancement of science need to
receive a benefit in return .
Access and benefit sharing in relation to plants, animals, micro-organisms and
associated traditional knowledge is governed by the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD 1992 ). In October 2010, the 193 parties to the CBD agreed the
Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable
Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD 2010 ). While it is by no means a foregone conclusion that the ben-
efit-sharing spirit of the CBD can be realized through the Nagoya Protocol, it is
still a landmark agreement as it operationalizes equity demands. The third objective
of the CBD, 'the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utiliza-
tion of genetic resources' (CBD 1992 : article 1), has at last been given an interna-
tional framework committing parties to its realization, thereby promising greater
legal clarity for both users and providers of biological resources. It is now up to the
193 parties to implement the Nagoya Protocol coherently within national law.
Equal legal clarity does not exist for the donors (providers) of human biological
materials, which are not covered by the CBD or any other binding legal instru-
ments. In this topic, we have looked at this legal vacuum and discussed many of
the unresolved issues facing policymakers and researchers. The concluding chap-
ter draws together our recommendations.
Box 10.1 Definitions
To be vulnerable means to face a significant probability of incurring an
identifiable harm, while substantially lacking the ability or means to protect
Wrongful exploitation is a failure to benefit others as some norm of fairness
requires (Mayer 2007 : 142).
Benefit Sharing as Justice in Exchange
Research participants who will derive few or no benefits from the results of
scientific research should nonetheless receive fair benefits for their contribu-
tions. Benefit sharing thus requires the sharing of advantages derived from
the use of resources with the resource providers in order to achieve justice in
exchange. Such an exchange should focus particularly on the clear provision
of benefits to vulnerable populations who may lack reasonable access to the
resulting products and services. At the same time, the exchange should not
entail unethical inducements.