Contextualising 'fair' and 'equitable': the San's reflections on the Hoodia Benefit-Sharing Agreement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) demands equitable benefit-sharing from the use of biodiversity, but it falls short of defining fairness or equity. The Hoodia, a traditional medicinal plant of the San, has been patented without their prior consent, but belatedly a benefit-sharing agreement has been signed. This paper investigates the views and perceptions of the San communities on what embodies fairness and equity in relation to this agreement. This case study underlines a serious weakness of the CBD, as it demonstrates how significant inequities in knowledge and power between indigenous peoples and companies can result in definitions that are predominantly shaped by the latter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-436
Number of pages14
JournalLocal Environment : The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007


  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • indigenous peoples
  • The Hoodia
  • medicinal plants

Cite this