In October 2010, parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization. One impetus behind the Nagoya Protocol was the mandate to address the unjust impacts—such as the loss of access to resources, exploitation of traditional knowledge, and expropriation of rights to resources—of the global demand for genetic resources on indigenous peoples and local communities (ILCs). Using collaborative event ethnography, this article demonstrates the limited nature, scope, and engagement of the ILC justice discourse in the negotiations, despite the supposedly inclusive nature of the CBD. I attribute the constrained discourse in part to the existence of a justice metanorm as evidenced through the emergence of shared meanings and prescriptive status of justice instruments.

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