Case Studies and Conflicting Interests
Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series
Edited by Tania Bubela and E. Richard Gold
Chapter 1: Introduction: Indigenous Rights and Traditional Knowledge
Tania Bubela and E. Richard Gold INTRODUCTION Indigenous peoples1 possess internationally recognized knowledge in areas as diverse as conservation and agricultural practices, classification systems, land use practices and sustainable management of natural resources, healthcare practices, and medicinal properties of local species.2 Because of the value of this knowledge, both indigenous peoples and commentators have been concerned about its exploitation by non-indigenous peoples; the same concerns apply to the diverse genetic resources found on indigenous lands. These concerns have led to calls for the protection of indigenous or traditional knowledge (TK) and calls for sharing of the benefits derived from the exploitation of TK. How protection and benefit sharing are to be accomplished, however, is a highly divisive and controversial topic, dividing resource-rich developing countries from those with advanced industrial and research capacity. This book aims at describing early efforts at defining and protecting TK nationally and internationally, at summarizing the existing state of international negotiations over TK, culminating in The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, and at opening up discussion of non-proprietary approaches to protecting the interests of indigenous peoples in TK. While the early negotiations achieved International Labour Organization (ILO), Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, C169, 27 June 1989 (entered into force 6 September 1991) (Indigenous peoples are those who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the population which inhabited the country, or geographical region to which the country belongs, at...