Brown Bag Lecture and discussion \ Why benefit-sharing is not enough: International biodiversity politics and the dispossession of indigenous groups

By Thomas R. Eimer
on 14 June 2017
12:00–13:00 hrs
at BICC, Pfarrer-Byns-Str. 1, 53121 Bonn

Thomas Eimer will talk about the consequences of international environmental regimes – here: the biodiversity regime- for the rights of indigenous groups, sometimes leading to their cultural and economic dispossession. Throughout the world, indigenous communities have acquired an impressive knowledge of local flora and fauna – so-called “traditional knowledge”- that is increasingly recognized as a key resource to simultaneously preserve the natural environment, to improve agricultural productivity, to sequester carbon emissions, and to stimulate innovations in the biotechnology industry. Bio-exploration – the exploration of traditional knowledge – is regulated in the international biodiversity regime complex, the terminology of which is focused on access and benefit-sharing between indigenous groups and external actors. The self-determination rights of indigenous peoples, however, tend to be disregarded.

The focus on benefit-sharing without due respect for the prior informed consent of indigenous groups undermines their economic bargaining position during the course of bio-explorations. At the same time, the disregard for indigenous customary rules violates their socio-cultural practices and beliefs. This socio-cultural dispossession of indigenous communities weakens their resistance against forceful evictions in the aftermath of the identification of economically and/or environmentally useful resources. Directly or indirectly, the mere focus on benefit-sharing is likely to contribute to the cultural (and sometimes even physical) displacement of indigenous groups in the Global South.

The presentation builds on Eimer’s ongoing research on the implications of the biodiversity regime for indigenous groups in India since 2011.

Thomas R. Eimer is assistant professor of international relations at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). He studied philosophy, political science, and public administration at the Fern Universität Hagen and completed his PhD at the Free University Berlin. Eimer’s research is focused on the institutionalization of property rights (indigenous knowledge, biological resources, and land tenure customs) in multi-level governance systems. He is currently investigating the implications of international regulations for India and Brazil.

The talk on 14 June 2017 is organized in BICC’s Brown Bag Lecture Series “Displacement and Development” which aims to interlink conflict and displacement studies on the one hand and development respectively humanitarian aid-oriented analyses on the other.

Please register at [email protected]

(By participating in the talk on 14 June you agree that any photo of you taken at the event may be used on BICC’s homepage and print publications.)

For more information, please contact:
Susanne Heinke, Head of Public Relations BICC
phone: +49 (0)228/911 96-44 / -0
e-mail: [email protected]