February 2010


Chief of Service/Branch/Division, D-1
UN DESA, February 2010

The vacancy for the post of Chief of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has been posted on the UN website. The deadline for applications is 18 April 2010. Read the vacancy announcement …

Latin American and Caribbean Indigenous and Local Community Fourth Capacity Building Workshop on the CBD, including issues relevant to Article 8(j) Traditional Knowledge & Access and Benefit-sharing: Mesoamerican Region
4 March – 6 March 2010 (Guatemala City, Guatemala)

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in partnership with the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network for the Latin American and Caribbean Region, has completed the selection of indigenous and local community representatives to receive financial assistance to participate in the meeting. Download the notification, including list of beneficiaries [pdf] …

WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional knowledge and Folklore – Fifteenth Session
7 December – 11 December 2009 (Geneva, Switzerland)

The initial draft report of the 15th session of WIPO’s IGC is now available for comments. IGC participants can submit their comments to the IGC Secretariat until 19 March 2010. Read the draft report …

Confronting Biopiracy: Challenges, Cases and international Debates
Daniel F. Robinson
Earthscan (February 2010) | ISBN 9781844077229

The aim of this new book is to provide the most detailed, coherent analysis of the issue of biopiracy to date, biopiracy referring either to the unauthorized extraction of biological resources, such as plants with medicinal properties, and associated traditional knowledge from indigenous peoples and local communities, or to the patenting of spurious “inventions” based on such knowledge or resources without compensation. The book synthesizes the rise of the issue and increasing use of the term by activists and negotiators in the WTO and the CBD, to form a critical understanding of the themes, implications and politics of biopiracy. Taking a case-study based approach, derived from interviews and fieldwork, the author documents events that have occurred in biopiracy and bioprospecting controversies; explores implications and ethical dilemmas, particularly relating to work with local communities; and details international debates from the WTO, CBD and other fora, providing an overview of current institutional limitations and suggesting ways forward. Purchase the book from Earthscan …

Climate Collision: What Comes After Copenhagen?
A World of Possibilities, February 2010

In this radio programme, funded by The Christensen Fund, native peoples from the Arctic and the Amazon to Pacific islands testify to what is happening to them, as seas and temperatures continue to rise disrupting their ancestral livelihoods. Their responses to these changes offer much-needed guidance about how to develop the resilience and inventiveness that are essential to humanity’s long-term survival. Guests include Cletus Springer, Director of the Department of Sustainable Development, Organization of American States; Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; and Claire Greensfelder, Deputy Director of the International Forum on Globalization. Visit the programme’s webpage, including downloads …

Changing forest conservation and management paradigms: traditional ecological knowledge systems and sustainable forestry: Perspectives from Chile and India
Thora Martina Herrmann, Maria-Costanza Torri, International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology vol. 16, issue 6, December 2009, doi: 10.1080/13504500903346404

This paper first explores the shift now occurring in the science that provides the theoretical basis for forest conservation and management. It then presents the concepts of traditional ecological knowledge and traditional management systems and practise to provide background for two case studies that examine traditional knowledge and forest management practices of tribal communities in the Sariska region (Rajasthan, India) and of the indigenous Mapuche Pewenhce communities in the Andean mountains of southern Patagonia in Chile, underlining the special relationship these tribal and indigenous communities maintain with the forest and their usefulness in community-based native forest conservation. These examples suggest that it is important to focus on managing ecological processes, instead of products, and to use integrated ecosystem management. Recommendations to move forest management paradigms beyond the current view of “timber” or “reserves” and toward one of truly integrated use that adapt conservation approaches to local cultural representations of the environment are made. Read the abstract …

Indigenous irrigation comes handy in dry season
The Assam Tribune, 20 February 2010

BAKSA, INDIA: Traditional knowledge and community participation combined have ensured that 300 villages in the Bhutan foothills in Baksa and Nalbari districts in India survive harsh water-scarce winters. The age-old indigenous irrigation system called “dong” enables the villagers to meet their water needs throughout the year but its utility is felt more during the prolonged dry winters when water becomes scarce even for drinking purposes. Under the dong, small dams are built on a river and the water is routed through canals to paddy fields and into the household ponds. Dongs operate on sound principles of water management, ensuring that there is no waste and water is distributed judiciously and equitably, monitored by dong committees. This traditional water harvesting system has also led to greater camaraderie among the different communities. Read the article …

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