Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge

Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge

Case Studies and Conflicting Interests

Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series

Edited by Tania Bubela and E. Richard Gold

This fascinating study describes efforts to define and protect traditional knowledge and the associated issues of access to genetic resources, from the negotiation of the Convention on Biological Diversity to The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Nagoya Protocol. Drawing on the expertise of local specialists from around the globe, the chapters judiciously mix theory and empirical evidence to provide a deep and convincing understanding of traditional knowledge, innovation, access to genetic resources, and benefit sharing.

Chapter 9: Aboriginal Rights and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Northern Canada

Cherie Metcalf and Tania Bubela

Subjects: development studies, development studies, environment, biotechnology, law - academic, intellectual property law


Cherie Metcalf and Tania Bubela The legal landscape relevant to the protection and promotion of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in Canada has undergone significant development in recent years. In the international arena, Canada is a party to the UN Convention on Biodiversity, and recently endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.1 Both of these instruments commit Canada to providing legal recognition for indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge (TK).2 However, in practice, the influence of international law has largely been 1 See Convention on Biological Diversity, 5 June 1992, 1760 UNTS 79, Article 8(j); United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, GA Res 295, UNGAOR 2007, particularly Art. 31. For discussion of Canada’s endorsement in November 2010, see 36751&C r=indigenous&Cr1 (last accessed November 2011). See also Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development, United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, Annex, Resolution 1, UN Doc A/CONF 151/26/Rev1 (vol 1) (1993), Principle 22, for an additional international commitment by Canada recognizing a rights-based dimension to traditional knowledge and a potentially important role for traditional knowledge in environmental management generally. 2 Canada has made little progress toward the national implementation of Access and Benefit Sharing provisions or any formal recognition of property or other rights specifically in TK despite being a signatory to the CBD. A consultation document on access and benefit sharing policies for Canada was released in 2005; see ‘ABS Policies in Canada: Scoping the Questions and Issues’...

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