September 2011

Director General Welcomes Advances in Normative Agenda, Outlines Future Challenges
WIPO press release, 26 September 2011

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The 49th series of meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) are being held from 26 September to 5 October 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland. Among other issues, the General Assembly will examine matters concerning the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, which seeks approval of the renewal of its mandate for the next biennium, in order to agree upon a text of an international legal instrument or instruments to ensure the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. In his opening remarks, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said the IGC made great progress, as texts have been prepared and have been actively negotiated. As underscored in an article by IP Watch, genetic resources remain a point of contention and negotiations on this topic are the least advanced of the IGC themes. South African Ambassador Abdul Minty made note of this during his opening statement on behalf of the African Group, saying that any further procrastination on the negotiations on mandatory disclosure requirement is undermining the letter and spirit of the mandate of the IGC.  Visit the meeting website … Follow the webcast … Read the WIPO press release … Read the IP Watch article …

UN food and agriculture agencies and other partners gather in Rome to share rural development and agriculture knowledge, experience and insights
IFAD release, September 2011

ROME, ITALY: The Second Global AgriKnowledge Share Fair, hosted by IFAD, is taking place in Rome from 26 to 29 September 2011. It aims to provide a forum for participants to learn and share knowledge, experience and innovations on emerging trends relating to agriculture, climate change, food security, mobile technology, social media, and influence future rural development activities. Several discussions are of relevance to TK, indigenous peoples and local communities, including on: traditional crops; local seed enterprises; knowledge sharing and community empowerment; cooperatives and community-based enterprises; and community radio. Read the release … Visit the Fair’s website …

Regional capacity-building workshop on the role of NGOs in implementing the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
28-30 September 2011 (Libreville, Gabon)

This workshop is organized in the context of UNESCO’s strategy to contribute to a better understanding of the key concepts of the Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage, the obligations of States Parties and the Convention’s mechanisms of international cooperation and assistance. It will bring together thirteen African NGOs accredited by the General Assembly of States Parties to act in an advisory capacity to the Committee or recommended for accreditation. The objective of the workshop is to provide participants with technical knowledge regarding the role of NGOs in implementing the Convention at both the national and international levels, to create a space for debate and exchange of experiences, good practices and challenges and to reinforce dialogue and cooperation among NGOs at the regional level. Read UNESCO’s release …

Indicators of resilience in socio-ecological production landscapes
Satoyama Initiative announcement, 23 September 2011

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN: The United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies and Bioversity International have developed a preliminary set of indicators of resilience in socio-ecological production landscapes as part of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative Collaborative Activities. Such indicators measure the capacity to adapt to change and maintain ecosystem services, as well as the communities’ capacity to innovate for greater resilience and sustainability. Several of them are TK-related. The preliminary document is available for download and comments. Please send your comments and feedback to and Read the announcement … Download the set of indicators [pdf] …

Selected indigenous and local community representatives to receive funding for participation in the seventh meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) and SBSTTA 15
CBD notification, 15 September 2011

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has circulated the list of ILC representatives to receive financial assistance in support of their participation in the seventh meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions, to be held from 31 October to 4 November 2011, and the fifteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 15), to be held from 7-11 November 2011, both in Montreal, Canada. The selection was carried out in accordance with the criteria for the operation of the Voluntary Funding Mechanism to facilitate the participation of indigenous and local communities in the work of the CBD. Download the notification, including list of selected ILC representatives [pdf] …

Plant data helps map potential ‘bio-cultural diversity’ hotspots
Science Alert, 21 September 2011

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: The Customary Medicinal Knowledgebase (CMKb), based at Macquarie University, is teaming up with the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), which hosts the GBIF national node, to integrate medicinal knowledge with other information on Australian biodiversity. A recent study modeled suitable ecological niches for more than 400 plant species that are of medicinal importance, using data accessed through the GBIF portal and Australia’s Virtual Herbarium (AVH), one of the main resources contributing data to ALA. The study Ecological niche modeling of customary medicinal plant species used by Australian Aborigines to identify species-rich and culturally valuable areas for conservation, which combined traditional knowledge with state-of-the-art ecological niche modeling technologies, was conducted by Dr Jitendra Gaikwad, Dr Peter Wilson and Prof Shoba Ranganathan from Macquarie University. It was published in the journal Ecological Modelling. The outcome was a map of potential “bio-cultural diversity hotspots”, areas suitable for the occurrence of multiple species known to be used in traditional medicine. Read the article … Read a GBIF release on the research … Read the study’s abstract …

Sciences, knowledges, and the practice of forestry
Louise Fortmann and Heidi Ballard
European Journal of Forest Research, vol. 130, no 3 (2011), doi: 10.1007/s10342-009-0334-y

In this article, the authors suggest that the only way to establish a long-lasting and effective strategy for forest management is through collaboration between professional scientists and local experts. They argue that some forest-related knowledge-producing practices of professional scientists and of local people are similar, and given the differences in the knowledge they produce, they explore how they might be used productively together to create better understandings of forests with resulting better forestry practice and policy. Using a case study of participatory forest ecology research in the Northwest United States as a model for sustainable forest management, they demonstrate that when professional (conventional) scientists do research in collaboration with local experts (civil scientists), the resulting knowledge can be more accurate and more policy relevant than they could produce doing research on their own or only with other conventional scientists. The study argues that to build long-term conservation strategies, a much more inclusive form of local participation is needed, termed “civil science.” Deep-rooted respect for local, traditional or indigenous knowledge of ecosystem processes should play just as large a part in environmental assessment and conservation strategies as “conventional” science practices. Read the abstract … Download the full article [pdf] …

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