Case Studies and Conflicting Interests
Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series
Edited by Tania Bubela and E. Richard Gold
Chapter 9: Aboriginal Rights and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Northern Canada
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 http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID= 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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