January 2008

New Project Will Worsen Poverty
The Herald [Harare] via allAfrica.com – 28 January 2008

HARARE, ZIMBABWE: The introduction of the new Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa will have serious social, economic and agricultural implications on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who are the majority in Africa, development experts have warned. Agronomists, agro-ecologists, environmentalists and development experts who met in Mali at a conference on Climate Change, Agriculture, Fisheries and Pastoralism in Africa, urged African governments to reject this project which got US$150 million funding from its main handlers — the Rockerfeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve African seed and distribution over the next five years. “The profound cultural and economic changes wrought by the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s produced a massive rural exodus and with it, a profound loss of traditional knowledge and skills,” Grain, a Food First (Institute for Food and Development Policy) publication reported. Read the article…

Using Culture to Save Wetlands
Inter Press Service [Johannesburg] via allAfrica.com – 26 January 2008

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Wetland conservation projects in South Africa have to take into consideration the culture, traditions and needs of local communities, according to Donovan Kotze of the University of KwaZulu Natal. He believes that the key to proper wetland management lies within communities living in and around these wetlands. The government’s Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, a conservation group known as Working on Wetlands and the private sector Mondi Wetlands Project, have joined forces for a number of research projects aimed at gathering valuable indigenous knowledge to help in the management and preservation of the country’s wetlands. Read the article…

Canada Marks Free Trade Milestones with Peru and the European Free Trade Association
Canadian Government News Center – 26 January 2008

OTTAWA, CANADA: On January 26, 2008, Canada and Peru announced the conclusion of negotiations toward a free trade agreement (FTA). This new agreement will open up new opportunities for business—by removing barriers to trade and investment—and help address the social dimensions of economic integration. The agreement on the environment promotes corporate social responsibilities, maintaining high levels of environmental protection, and negotiated provisions reaffirm the parties’ international commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity to strengthening protection of biological diversity and to respecting, preserving and maintaining the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities. Read the article…

Elise Huffer – New SPC Human Development Adviser
Secretariat of the Pacific Community Press Release via Scoop – 22 January 2008

NOUMEA, NEW CALEDONIA: The new Adviser for culture at Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Human Development Programme, Elise Huffer, says despite its essential role, culture is an area that is often neglected or marginalised in governance and development policy. Dr Huffer says her position at SPC gives her the opportunity to actively promote culture and address this ‘deficit’. She says the main cultural issues in the Pacific today are developing a regional cultural strategy, promoting the role of young people in culture, creating greater respect for Pacific people’s cultural values, and protecting cultural heritage and traditional knowledge and expressions of culture.Read the article…

New Information and Web-based Technologies: Arctic Workshop in the Indigenous Communities, Tourism and Biodiversity Workshop Series
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and Carleton University [Ottawa]
19 November – 21 November 2007 (Quebec, Canada)

The report of the Arctic Workshop in the Indigenous Communities, Tourism and Biodiversity Workshop Series on New Information and Web-based Technologies has been released. The aim of the Arctic region workshop was to:

  • Build capacity on areas of interest to indigenous and local communities and in particular with regard to the use of web-based technologies and tools for marketing purposes;
  • Promote knowledge and experience on biodiversity-tourism activities in the Arctic region and the marketing of special-interest tourism through the web in order to better position products for sustainability and conservation;
  • Test and assess the Convention on Biological Diversity and other web tools available to indigenous and local communities, refining needs assessments for future training workshops in this series.

Download the meeting documents…

International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change
2 April – 4 April 2008 (Darwin, Australia)

This workshop is a collaborative effort between the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), the Secretariat of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance.

The main objectives of the workshop are to consider:

  • the effects of climate change on indigenous peoples;
  • adaptation measures to climate change;
  • carbon projects and carbon trading; and
  • factors that enable or obstruct indigenous peoples’ participation
    in the climate change processes.

The Expert Group Meeting seeks to draw on the expertise of indigenous peoples, UNPFII members, relevant United Nations agencies, intergovernmental agencies, national and local governments, indigenous peoples’ organizations, non-government organizations and academics that are active within the field of climate change.

Download the SPFII background paper: Climate Change an Overview

Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore : Twelfth Session (WIPO)
25 February 2008 – 29 February 2008 (Geneva, Switzerland)

The Committee is currently considering the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) through two processes:

  1. consideration of an agreed list of Issues concerning the protection of TK; and
  2. consideration of a draft set of “Revised Objectives and Principles for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge” (“Objectives and Principles”).

The working documents on protection of TK prepared for the twelfth session of the Committee comprise:

  • WIPO/GRTKF/IC/12/5(a): a brief overview of current work on TK
  • WIPO/GRTKF/IC/12/5(b): a ‘factual extraction’, with attribution, consolidating the view points and questions of Members and Observers on the List of Issues considered during the Eleventh Session including their comments submitted in writing for the eleventh session, subject to review of Member States and observers and without prejudice to any position taken on these issues;
  • WIPO/GRTKF/IC/12/5(c): the text of the draft Objectives and Principles, identical to the text that was circulated at the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh sessions, but provided for ease of reference.

In addition, at earlier sessions the Committee approved an outline and structure for a set of recommendations for patent authorities on examination of TK related applications, and requested the Secretariat to prepare a full draft set of recommendations. This document contains a third revision of the draft recommendations for the Committee’s consideration. It draws on past documents, as well as the national positions and reports that are addressed in those documents. It also draws on responses to a Questionnaire on Recognition of Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources in the Patent System that was circulated between the Committee’s sixth and seventh sessions. (Responses to the questionnaire are contained in WIPO/GRTKF/IC/9/INF/6.)

Visit the meeting page…

WG ABS 6 – Sixth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing
21 January – 25 January 2008 (Geneva, Switzerland)

At its sixth meeting, the CBD’s Access and Benefit-Sharing Working Group is to continue the elaboration and negotiation of the international regime on access and benefit-sharing on the basis of the following substantive topics:

  • Compliance
    • Measures to support compliance with prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms;
    • Internationally recognized certificate of origin/source/legal provenance;
    • Monitoring, enforcement and dispute settlement;
  • Traditional knowledge and genetic resources
  • Capacity-building
  • Nature, scope and objectives of the international regime

Meeting documents can be downloaded from the ABS WG-6 Website. Recent papers of interest include:

Visit the meeting site…
Download the meeting documents…
Follow live coverage by ENB…

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