March 2008

Experts see ploy in US’ stand on patent issue
LiveMint Wall St Journal [India] – 25 March 2008

MUMBAI, INDIA: Indian patent experts see comments by US experts at a Chennai summit on intellectual property rights (IPR) as an indication of the hard stance the US is taking against efforts by countries such as India and Brazil to protect their indigenous biological resources and traditional knowledge from being exploited by firms based largely in Western countries. At the summit, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and sponsored by US industry lobby led by the George Washington University Law School (GWULS), a panel of US IPR law and industry experts suggested that developing countries such as India should not hold on to home-grown knowledge. Read the article…

Unlocking the memories of islands’ tides of change
The Age [Australia] – 21 March 2008

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: A scientist is to document the trail of climate change that is threatening to bring trouble in paradise, in a project blending traditional knowledge with Western science. Donna Green, of the University of NSW, hopes the work will improve understanding of how climate change has, and will, affect the region, and develop ways to respond. The climate change researcher will visit about half a dozen Torres Strait islands next month to begin recording indigenous knowledge of the weather and environment. Read the article…

Climate change policy needs traditional wisdom
Reuters – 19 March 2008

LONDON, ENGLAND: Northeastern Uganda’s Karamojong people – a semi-nomadic tribe who make their living from cattle herding – look at the stars to work out the flux of the wet and dry seasons. And when warm weather comes early, they know that if it isn’t followed by heavy rains, their crops will fail and they’ll face hunger. “I wish the government would use these indicators to prepare relief instead of just relying on satellite imagery,” said David Pulkol, a Karamojong community leader and former Ugandan government minister, at a press conference in London last week. “Climate change is wiping out our knowledge base and destroying the life of our community,” said Pulkol. “There is no integration of indigenous knowledge into development planning, and so people are becoming more powerless.” Read the article…

The crofters – indigenous people of the Highlands
Farmer’s Guardian [UK] – 14 March 2008

LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND: The Scottish Crofting Foundation has presented the research project ‘Crofters; Indigenous People of the Highlands and Islands’ to the Scottish Parliamentary Crofting Cross Party Group. This report examines parallels between the Sami and Highlanders before arguing that the UK and Scottish Government should respect the norms of international law and give realistic support to crofters, as indigenous people of the Highlands and Islands, in order to protect and nourish their traditional way of life, says SCF. Read the article…

Te Tatau Pounamu – The Greenstone Door:
Traditional knowledge and gateways to balanced relationships

8 June – 11 June 2008 (Auckland, New Zealand)

The Traditional Knowledge 2008 Conference focuses on traditional indigenous concepts, values, ideals, models and strategies for sustaining balanced and healthy relationships within and across families, communities, nations, nation-states, local, regional and global borders, territories and environments. It aims to provide opportunities to discuss indigenous strategies for sustaining relationships between collectives and over generations, for resolving conflict, for peace-making, reconciliation and restorative justice. There will also be opportunities to share what has been learned from diverse contexts around the world about how indigenous models, values, concepts and processes have been incorporated into state or government initiatives and with what impact for indigenous peoples. Abstracts close 30 April 2008.

Visit the conference page…

International Conference on Language Documentation and Tradition
7 November – 9 November 2008 (Thessaloniki, Greece)

The theme of this first International Conference on Language Documentation and Tradition is the documentation, description and revitalization of endangered languages as well as the role of tradition and culture for the maintenance and promotion of such languages. The Kalasha language and tradition have been chosen as a case study regarding both its possible linguistic and cultural links to Ancient Greece. The Conference will have two sections, (a) the Linguistics and (b) the culture and tradition section of endangered languages, with the main
focus on the Kalasha as a case study. Call for papers closes on 31 May 2008.

Visit the conference website…

TRIPS Council: Half Of WTO Membership Backs Biodiversity Amendment
Intellectual Property Watch – 14 March 2008

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The World Trade Organization committee on intellectual property rights concluded its triennial gathering one day early in a meeting several participants characterised as “routine.” The meeting was marked by further support for an amendment to WTO rules for biodiversity, a lack of enforcement issues, the welcome of Vietnam, and the buzz of the nearby high-level “Green Room” negotiations. Upstairs in the WTO headquarters at the same time as the TRIPS Council two key IP issues were raised in the Green Room by proponents: an amendment requiring the disclosure of origin of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, and a proposal to extend elevated geographical indications (GIs) protection to other products besides wine and spirits, according to sources familiar with the process. The Green Room process brings a small number of key ambassadors into a room with the WTO director general, and is being used to try to advance the Doha Round of trade liberalising negotiations.
Read the article…

New bowhead numbers show Inuit are right
Nunatsiaq news [Canada] – 14 March 2008

NUNAVUT, CANADA: Inuit said for years that the Eastern Arctic’s stock of bowhead whales belong to one large and healthy population, while marine biologists at the federal department of fisheries and oceans disagreed. But new numbers, presented to a public hearing held by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board in Iqaluit last week, show that scientists were wrong and Inuit were right. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans now estimates that the Eastern Arctic bowhead whale population is 15 times greater than they thought only eight years ago. Read the article…

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