December 2010

Indigenous rights declaration universally endorsed
OHCHR release, 23 December 2010

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued a release underscoring that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has now received universal backing from the international community, with the US being the last UN Member State to endorse it. By adopting the Declaration, States have committed to recognizing indigenous peoples rights under international law, with the right to be respected as distinct peoples and the right to determine their own development according to their culture, priorities, and customary laws. While endorsing the Declaration, the US has expressed its own understanding of the right to self determination, and on free, prior and informed consent. The endorsement has sparked many reactions among indigenous rights circles globally. Read the release …


Decisions of the Seventeenth Session of the IGC
6-10 December 2010 (Geneva, Switzerland)

The decisions of the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore have been made available online. Download the decisions …

Comments on documents for IWG 3 on Genetic Resources
WIPO, December 2010

In preparation for the third intersessional working group, to be held from 28 February to 4 March 2011 with focus on genetic resources, IGC participants are invited to submit written comments on all relevant working documents to the International Bureau by email to grtkf(at) before 14 January 2011. Further information, including links to relevant working documents …

CIHR Scoping Meeting on Key Issues
2-3 November 2010 (Washington DC, USA, and Cambridge, UK)

The Conservation Initiative on Human Rights hosted a scoping meeting, in order to build common understandings on key issues at the intersection of conservation and human rights and identify proposed areas of focus for future work. Participants discussed appropriate standards or best practices for addressing key issues in conservation contexts; practical opportunities and challenges for action; and suggestions for further learning and more in-depth work. A presentation on key issues at the intersection of conservation and human rights and subsequent discussion addressed several issues of relevance to TK and indigenous peoples, including: participation in decision-making; free, prior, informed consent; customary land and resource tenure; biocultural diversity; sustainable use and equitable benefit-sharing; and displacement and restrictions on resource access. Read the IUCN release on the meeting … Download the report of the meeting [pdf] …

Communities of the Potato Park sign a new Repatriation Agreement with the International Potato Centre for the repatriation of native potatoes and recognition of rights over associated traditional knowledge
6 December 2010 (Lima, Peru)

On 6 December 2010, a new agreement was signed between the Association of Communities of the Potato Park in Peru and the Centro Internacional de la Papa (CIP) for continuation of a collaborative partnership aiming to the conservation and promotion of native potato varieties through repatriation and bridging scientific and traditional knowledge. The agreement will enable continuation of the valuable work on conservation and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity that has been undertaken jointly by the six rural communities of the Potato Park located in Pisaq in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco, and scientists of CIP since 2004. Outcomes of the initial collaboration include the repatriation of over 400 varieties of native potatoes which are successfully being managed by the communities of the Potato Park. This has led to a strengthening of cultural values and traditional knowledge associated to the repatriated varieties, food security and self-determined development. Read the press release …

Development with identity
Andreas Wilkes, China Dialogue, 21 December 2010

BEIJING, CHINA: In this article, Andreas Wilkes reviews the Sloping Land Conversion Programme and its impacts on the Dulong, one of China’s least populous ethnic minorities living in an area of extremely high biodiversity. Between 2002 and 2009, the Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge, an NGO based in Yunnan, undertook surveys and consultations exploring the impacts of that programme on agrobiodiversity and livelihoods in Dulong. By planting trees on farmland on slopes over 25 degrees in return for eight years worth of grain subsidies, the aim of the SLCP is to increase vegetation cover and reduce soil and water loss, while also considering the livelihood needs of farmers. The study found that the programme brought benefits in the form of increased living standards and resolved grain shortages, but it also brought traditional agriculture to an end threatening crop and animal species and, according to some village elders, traditional culture too. Read the article … Download the study Agrobiodiversity and Biocultural Heritage in the Dulong Valley, China [pdf] …

AfricaAdapt Climate Change Symposium 2011
9-11 March 2011 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

This three-day bilingual (French/English) symposium is focusing on evolving approaches, tools, methods and philosophies addressing the links between increasing climate change and variability in Africa and sustainable development. It will feature keynote speakers from across the continent, and also provide a space for creative new exchanges and collaboration between African research, media, policy, and community practitioners. Themes to be explored of relevance to TK include: roles of local and indigenous knowledge in addressing climate change; and new thinking on community-led responses: from local to global. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 3 January 2011. Please e-mail abstracts and/or questions to: info(at) A limited number of funding opportunities are available for those who cannot meet the participation costs. Visit the meeting website … Download the forms for submission of abstracts and funding requests …

Brazil: Indigenous communities reflect on using the internet
Chicoepab Suruí (translated by Paula Góes), Global Voices, 18 December 2010

In the end of November, the city of Sao Paulo hosted the 1st Symposium on Indigenous Uses of the Internet, an event organized by the Center for Indigenous History and Indigenous Studies at the Federal University of Sao Paulo to assess how indigenous communities were using the internet in Brazil. Delegates of 16 indigenous ethnicities from many parts of the country attended the event, the majority of whom have already been using the Internet to seek improvements for their people. During the three-day symposium, each delegate shared their experiences using the Internet in the villages, for many and varied purposes: to promote events, surveillance of their territories, distance learning, cultural exchange, birth registration, claiming national insurance benefits, communication with relatives, complaints, etc. Read the article …

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