Some regions, such as Africa and the Andean Community, have introduced regional laws to protect traditional knowledge and genetic resources. Where these resources are shared between countries, the laws promote common standards so that those seeking access can’t just go to the country with the lowest requirements. Regional laws also provide model legislation that can guide countries developing national laws, eg. the African Model Law.
News and blogs
Banishing the Biopirates: A new approach to protecting traditional knowledge. K. Swiderska. 2006. IIED Gatekeepers 129.
This section highlights key actors and initiatives that put the concept of biocultural heritage into practice—from indigenous organisations and NGOs, to universities, UN organisations and donors.
Asociacion ANDES (Peru)
The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation for 2020 was agreed at the Biodiversity Convention’s 10th Conference of Parties in Nagoya, 2010. It sets out a series of targets to be achieved by 2020. The following two targets are directly relevant for the protection of biocultural heritage:
Objective II; target 9: 70 per cent of the genetic diversity of crops including their wild relatives and other socio-economically valuable plant species conserved, while respecting, preserving and maintaining associated indigenous and local knowledge.
Why develop biocultural products?
‘Indigenous Biocultural Territories’ (IBCTs) aim to protect collective biocultural heritage of indigenous peoples through collective territorial rights. They support the integrity of indigenous territorialities which are under siege from a variety of forces and actors, in a rapidly changing world. These territories are essential for sustaining local subsistence economies, diverse cultures, biological resources, innovation and adaption systems, and ecosystem services.
The Nagoya Protocol requires that:
Each Party shall take measures to raise awareness of the importance of genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, and related access and benefit-sharing issues” (Article 21).
Awareness raising measures may include:
organising meetings of indigenous and local communities and relevant stakeholders and involving them in implementation of the Protocol;
establishing a help desk, and a national clearing house;
IIED Sustaining Local Food Systems, Biodiversity and Livelihoods programme. This site provides information on biocultural heritage and rights in Peru, India, Indonesia and Iran.
Indigenous Peoples' Climate Change Assessment (IPCCA). Provides information on how the IPCCA's local assessments are using biocultural heritage to shape their concepts and methodologies.
Resilient farming, adaptation and food security
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) aims to promote intellectual property rights (IPRs) worldwide. In 2000, it established an inter-governmental committee to address IPR issues relating to genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, including how to protect traditional knowledge from misappropriation and how to share benefits from commercialisation equitably.