The Role of Customary Law in Access and Benefit-Sharing and Traditional Knowledge Governance: Perspectives from Andean and Pacific Island Countries
Brendan Tobin
WIPO and UNU, April 2013

This paper examines the relationships between customary law, national and international regulation of TK and access to genetic resources and-benefit sharing (ABS), and human rights. It is based upon a desktop analysis of these issues and the deliberations and conclusions of a series of regional and sub-regional workshops held in Andean and South Pacific Island countries between 2003 and 2006. Section I provides an overview of issues relating to protection of TK and recognition of customary law. Section II addresses international recognition of customary law, focusing on the work of the CBD and the WIPO IGC. Section III examines the protection of rights of TK holders under international human rights law. Section IV reviews the status of customary law in Andean and Pacific Island countries. Section V provides an overview of the debates and conclusions of the various workshops. Section VI presents the conclusions of the study and proposals for future action. Download the paper [pdf] …