January 2009

For Indigenous people interested in applying for funding from the Voluntary Fund to attend the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity Access and Benefit Sharing Working Group meeting April 2-8, 2009 in Paris, the deadline is 31 January 2009. Further information on the fund application process, including a link to the application itself, is available at the CBD website.

Access and Benefit-sharing: Peer review process for ABS studies commissioned in accordance with decision IX/12, paragraph 13(a), (b) and (e)

CBD notification, 22 January 2009


The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has announced that the drafts of the two final studies, on monitoring and tracking of genetic resources, and on compliance in relation to the customary law of indigenous and local communities, national law, across jurisdictions and international law, are available for peer review by Parties, international organizations, indigenous and local communities and relevant stakeholders. Comments should be forwarded to secretariat@cbd.int, no later than 13 February 2009. The studies …


Seventh meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing: Informal consultations with the Co-chairs and regional consultations, 31 March – 1 April 2009, UNESCO, Paris, France

CBD notification, 22 January 2009


The Co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing, Mr. Fernando Casas of Colombia and Mr. Timothy Hodges of Canada, will be holding informal consultations in Paris, France, on 31 March and 1 April 2009, prior to the seventh meeting of ABS Working Group, which will also be held in Paris on 2-8 April 2009 at the Headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Download the notification [pdf] …

Nomination of Experts for the Second Meeting of the Second Ad hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change

CBD notification, 21 January 2009


In preparation for the second meeting of the Ad hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on biodiversity and climate change, to be held from 18-22 April 2009, in Helsinki, Finland, the CBD Secretariat has invited organizations actively participating in issues related to biodiversity and climate change to submit nominations of experts no later than 20 February 2009. Download the notification [pdf] …

2009: The Year Ahead for WIPO

Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 21 January 2009


GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: 2009 is poised to be an important year for the World Intellectual Property Organisation as the organisation faces many challenges, particularly in terms of balancing the interests of developing and developed countries and addressing pressing public policy concerns such as public health, food security and climate change. The protection of traditional knowledge is an area of WIPO’s work in which many stakeholders have pointed to the need for greater movement and even an agreement — not only to deal with greater protection at the domestic level but also with cross-border misappropriation of traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions … However, the lack of consensus at the last meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) in October, on a possible intersessional mechanism to accelerate the committee’s work reflected the continued gap between country positions even on procedural issues which were perceived by some as possibly prejudicing their positions on future substantive work. Read the article …

Farmers’ Rights in Peru: Farmers’ Perspectives

Maria Scurrah, Regine Andersen and Tone Winge, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Farmers’ Rights Project Background Study 8, November 2008


This report presents the perceptions and experiences of 180 farmers from various regions of the Peruvian Andes on issues related to Farmers’ Rights as they are addressed in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. A series of regional workshops were held in the Andes from March to May 2008 to map the views, experiences and suggestions of farmers on the realization of Farmers’ Rights. Their views were presented at a national multi-stakeholder workshop in Lima in September 2008. In the report the results from these workshops are presented and analyzed. Central recommendations include: documentation of traditional knowledge; the establishment of agro-biodiversity reserves; support to community gene banks, seed fairs and exchange visits; participatory research on traditional seed systems and participatory plant breeding; assistance in processing and marketing products made from traditional varieties; improved economic incentive structures for maintaining traditional crop varieties; and the establishment of pilot villages to bolster the conservation and exchange of genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Suggestions for activities to foster farmers’ participation in decision-making are elaborated as well as institutional questions on how to coordinate the realization of Farmers’ Rights. Download the report [pdf] …

Cusco Law on Indigenous Knowledge and Biopiracy
TK Community, 24 January 2009


LONDON, UK: The regional government of Cusco, Peru, has enacted laws to regulate against biopiracy and protect indigenous knowledge at the regional level. The laws include provisions for prior informed consent from indigenous and local communities, benefit-sharing with communities, and limitations upon the creation of patent rights over genetic resources. The laws are based on the understanding that such communities have sustained and protected the species for centuries through their traditions and practices, and acknowledge this guardianship in the duties to those communities, as recognised in the law, as well as providing for communities to rely on customary laws to develop and implement registers for genetic resources and protocols and procedures for the access to those resources. Although the law provides for a local infrastructure to challenge national procedures on bioprospecting, it may conflict with national laws on the recording of indigenous knowledge. The provision for locally produced and controlled registers for traditional knowledge may conflict with the National Register of Indigenous Knowledge, created by the National Institute for the Protection of the Consumer and Intellectual Property. Read the article …

Traditional farming methods in India protect birds

Environmental Expert, 23 January 2009


MADRID, SPAIN: Under the right conditions, traditional agricultural practices can support significant biodiversity in farmed areas over the long term. A new study shows that arecanut plantations combined with forest areas support bird life. The researchers suggest that local agricultural practices are responsible for maintaining much of the native biodiversity. It is the value of the arecanut plantations to the local community and the ability to intercrop with other high value crops, such as pepper, banana and vanilla, which ensure the stability of the plantations, preservation of adjacent forests, complex vegetation structure and protection of bird species in the area. Read the press release …

Bush medicine could make safer implants

ABC Science Online (Australia), 22 January 2009


CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA: An extract from a flowering desert plant, used as traditional medicine by Indigenous Australians, could one day be used to coat hip transplants and other biomedical devices, say researchers. Professor Hans Griesser and colleagues are presenting their work this week at a biomaterials conference at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. “We can learn so much from nature and traditional knowledge,” says Griesser, a materials scientist from the University of South Australia. He says Aboriginal people use leaves of Eremophila plants, which grow in Australia’s desert areas, to make ointments for skin abrasions and gargles for throat infections. Griesser and team extracted eleven compounds from the leaves of Eremophila and found they had the same bacterial killing power as established antibiotics. The researchers then developed a method of permanently bonding the compounds to plastic and metal materials used to make implants such as catheters, heart valves, hip or knee implants. Antibacterial coatings on implants are important, because these devices provide a perfect site for bacteria to become established. Read the article …

Government Team to Bolster Protection for the Country’s Best Ideas

Jakarta Globe, 22 January 2009


JAKARTA, INDONESIA: A team of officials from several ministries in Indonesia has redoubled efforts to protect the country’s heritage and curb intellectual property infringement. The group plans to strengthen four existing intellectual property laws and draw up two new bills. Minister of Justice and Human Rights Andi Mattalatta said that existing laws covered copyrights, patents, brands and industrial design, while the new bills were aimed at protecting traditional knowledge and heritage, and local food products. To protect traditional knowledge, Mattalatta said the team was creating an inventory of Indonesia’s traditional technologies and cultural products. “That is our main priority right now,” he said. “To do that, we will set up a website on communal intellectual property.” Read the article …

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