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Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources – 15 credits

Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources (JBEN22) - online course

Genetic resources are incredibly important to humanity and can sometimes create an imbalance between economically and technologically weaker and stronger states. To help reduce this risk, a system of access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources has been established. If you're interested in learning more about this system, we offer this master level course as an elective part of the law programme, taught remotely in English.

Have you ever wondered how your coffee or tea gets to you? What impact has it had on the people, communities and governments of the faraway countries where your coffee beans or tea leaves grow? How has it affected the land?

Genetic resources are of vital importance to humankind. From the seeds that become our food, biochemical compounds in medicines, to essential oils in cosmetics, and even the rubber in the tires of cars, genetic resources are used in every aspect of our lives.

We have known the value of collecting biological material from distant lands for centuries. Famous scientists like Carl Linnaeus and Charles Darwin recognised the importance of knowledge of species across the world. Research on genetic resources and traditional knowledge results in innovations and advances in science that today define the resilience of our species.

For centuries, scientists conducting research on genetic resources and indigenous (or traditional) knowledge associated with genetic resources have had no legal obligations towards the providers of these resources or knowledge. Even from the early days of the UN, there was concern regarding the balance between the economically and technologically weaker and biodiversity-rich states of the global South and the scientifically, technologically and economically more advanced states of the global North. Meanwhile, the Earth has started to lose much of its biodiversity due to overexploitation of natural resources.

To address these issues, the international community agreed to establish an access and benefit-sharing (ABS) system. ABS aims to equitably share the benefits of science between providers and users of genetic resources by making access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge subject to authorisations and benefit-sharing agreements.

The Swedish name of this course is: "Tillgång och förmånsdelning av genetiska resurser".

Course contents

This master's course will be about how the international law addresses the concerns over fairness, equity and ethicality of accessing and utilizing genetic resources. We will start by talking about the historical, social and ecological aspects behind the establishment of the international ABS system. We will learn about major international ABS instruments such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol. We will also look into how ABS works in practice and find out the needs and priorities of the providers and users through case studies and roleplaying activities. All in all, we will have a holistic approach in looking into ABS, one of the major elements of international environmental justice and of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

If you want to be a part of a critical and multi-faceted discussion on a contemporary element aiming to address one of the key global environmental challenges we face today, then this course is for you. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Course structure

The course is a flipped classroom course. This means that lectures are replaced by pre-recorded video lectures that the students can watch on the course website. The purpose of the concept is that the student accesses parts of the course material in advance, to come more prepared to the seminars.

Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources consists of 15 credits. This is a full-time course (100 % study pace) and takes place during 10 weeks in the summer. 

Course design


For each branch of law there is a number of pre-recorded video lectures which you access through the learning platform Blackboard. The lectures are available on-demand so that you can plan your own studies.

Course literature and legislative text

In addition to the lectures, you are expected to read the course literature and the relevant legal text. The compulsory reading material are listed in the reading list.


To continuously test your knowledge, there are a number of self-correcting tests with multiple choice questions. The tests are not compulsory and can be taken several times. The purpose of these tests is to facilitate your own learning. The tests are not part of the examinations.


To complete the examination, you must actively participate in two mandatory seminars and write an essay. The seminars are conducted remotely. Your final grade will be based on both the essay and your active participation in the seminars.

Accredation of the course

It is possible to accredit the course within a master's programme at Lund University. For questions regarding the accredation at other universities, contact the appropriate institution at the university in question.

This course can not be accredited, within a master's degree from Lund university, together with the course Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources (JUBN22) as the course content is nearly equivalent.

Information about registration

If you have been admitted to this course, you will shortly receive an e-mail from us with all the information necessary for registration. The e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address you have entered at Remember to control whether your e-mail settings accidentally send our e-mail to your junk mail.

If you have not received an e-mail from us the day before the course starts at the latest, you are welcome to contact us.

When you have received the welcome letter with registration information it is important that you register as soon as possible to keep your seat at the course. Enter to register. All the information is included in the welcome letter.

Early discontinuation

If you do not want to go through with the course there is a possibility to make an early discontinuation. With an early discontinuation it is possible to apply for the course again. An early dicsontinuation can be done three weeks after the course starts at the latest. After that the discontinuation becomes definitive. Then it is not possible to apply for the course again. You can make an early discontinuation through or by sending an e-mail to ABS [at] jur [dot] lu [dot] se (ABS[at]jur[dot]lu[dot]se).  


You have to re-register if you wish to take a course you previously have been registered to and not finished.

You can only be re-registered if there is a free seat. Our courses are almost always full. Then re-registration is not possible.

If you only want to take remaining tests, final exam or other mandatory moments you do not have to re-register. If that is the case, please contact us. 

Photograph of two students with a blue tint.'s logotype is at the forefront.

Apply to the course here!

Application for this course is currently closed.


Course administration

abs [at] jur [dot] lu [dot] se (abs[at]jur[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 11 26


Postdoctor Aysegul Sirakaya.

Course information

Observe that the schedule is preliminary until the course starts.

Education monitoring

The Law Students Union monitors the education at the Faculty of Law at Lund university. 

Visit the student union's website for additional information about the Law Students Union's education monitoring (new page).


utbildning [at] jf [dot] se (utbildning[at]jf[dot]se)