picture credits: Armonia by Chiara Cittadino, published in 2019 on the backcover of Incorporating Indigenous Rights in the International Regime on Biodiversity Protection by Federica Cittadino

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Incorporating indigenous rights in the international regime on biodiversity protection

Introducing the book symposium on Federica Cittadino's book on access, benefit-sharing and conservation in indigenous lands


This post is the first of a series of four that will discuss Federica Cittadino’s book Incorporating Indigenous Rights in the International Regime on Biodiversity Protection. Access, Benefit-sharing and Conservation in Indigenous Lands (Brill, 2019). The book starts from the assumption that Indigenous peoples are not only considered as stewards of the environment in international law but may become victims of the international protection of biodiversity.

Cittadino argues that this misalignment is the result of a flawed implementation of two complex normative regimes, the Indigenous peoples’ rights and the Convention on Biological Diversity with its additional protocols. The author suggests a combined reading of the both too often competing regimes. However, the alignment of these normative systems may cause further problems that will be taken up in the symposium, such as the questions of implementation or legal pluralism. The present book symposium brings these aspects together with the author’s response and seeks to open the legal debate on these issues.

The symposium will kick-off with a post of Giada Giacomini (Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’), who considers the aspect of legal pluralism in this topic. In the next post, Lucas Lixinski (UNSW Sydney), analyses and comments on the utopian dimension of Cittadino’s work. Mauro Barelli (City, University of London) focuses on the human rights aspects of a synchronized protection of biodiversity and indigenous peoples’ rights. Eventually, Federica Cittadino (EURAC Bolzano/Bozen) will respond to the comments and critique raised in the previous posts.


Cite as: Sebastian Spitra & Anna-Julia Saiger, “Incorporating indigenous rights in the international regime on biodiversity protection. Introducing the book symposium on Federica Cittadino’s book on access, benefit-sharing and conservation in indigenous lands”, Völkerrechtsblog, 24 June 2020, doi: 10.17176/20200624-123933-0.

Sebastian M. Spitra

Sebastian M. Spitra is a Post-Doc Fellow at the Department for Legal and Constitutional History of the University of Vienna and a member of the Junge Akademie at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz.

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Anna-Julia Saiger
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  1. This looks great. With apologies to the speakers as I’m not familiar with all of them, is there representation from Indigenous peoples and scholars in the symposium / discussion?

  2. Dear Fiona,

    Thank you for your important question and comment! For now, we do not have Indigenous experts contributing to this book review symposium. When we were planning the symposium we were reaching out to the network that is closest to us as an academic blog that is based in Central Europe. Your important remark has made us even more aware that this may result in blind spots that we need to work on harder to remedy. Particularly regarding the topic of this symposium, we understand that it would have been important to ensure adequate representation from the very beginning. Even though we are aware that this is not ideal, we will now do our best to solicit contributions by Indigenous persons for this symposium. Thank you once again for raising this important point.

    Best wishes

    Your Völkerrechtsblog Editorial Team

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