The Role of Customary Law and Practice in the Protection of Traditional Knowledge Related to Biological Diversity
Protection of rights over traditional knowledge (TK) is one of the most complex issues currently facing the international community. Efforts to develop law and policy for this area raises a multiplicity of legal, economic, cultural, spiritual, and ideological hurdles which are testing the capacity of national governments and international institutions. Although TK is, by and large, considered by indigenous peoples and local communities to be a seamless body of knowledge, the international community has tended to separate TK into two broad areas. These are folklore or traditional cultural expressions (TCE), and TK relating to biological diversity or traditional ecological knowledge. This separation reflects the lack of a conceptual and institutional framework at the international level capable of addressing in an all encompassing fashion indigenous peoples and local communities' knowledge systems. A broad range of international forums and organizations are now involved in the development, adoption and/or implementation of legal and policy tools, programs, and projects for the protection of TK. These include the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Intergovernmental Comittee on intellectual property, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore (IGC), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultnral Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), the United Nations University (UNU) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite this attention, indigenous peoples and local communities still lack any clear and actionable rights over their TK.
Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions and Intellectual Property Law in the Asia-Pacific Region
Human Rights Law