Good Gene Governance: The Nagoya Protocol and its implication for genetic resources and traditional knowledge in Queensland

16 October, ACIPA IP Seminar Series, Brendan Tobin

Traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples and local communities is the cornerstone of local seed, livestock, fishery and harvesting systems. It informs and regulates their selection, breeding, hunting, conservation and traditional resource management programs. Often ignored in the past the importance of traditional knowledge for conservation of biodiversity and for local and global food security is now widely recognised. Traditional knowledge of farming communities is, for example, the source of thousands of farmer's varieties that form the backbone of global agrobiodiversity. Many of these farmer's varieties have already been incorporated into CGIAR collections and placed directly or indirectly into the multilateral gene pool established by the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Until recently access, collection, transmission and use of traditional knowledge has been left largely unregulated. This has changed with the adoption of the FAO International Treaty, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. Negotiations are also ongoing at the World Intellectual Property Organization on an international instrument to protect traditional knowledge relating to biological resources.

This presentation provided an overview of international regulation of traditional knowledge and its implications for management of ex-situ collections of seeds and breeds, imbued with traditional knowledge. It provided examples of experiences in domestic regulation of traditional knowledge and of agreements between CGIAR centres and Indigenous peoples. A central aim of the presentation was to stimulate discussion among participants of the challenges and opportunities associated with accessing or using traditional knowledge and the development of appropriate relations with the holders of traditional knowledge.


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