The New Biology
- Queen Mary Studies in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Matthew Rimmer and Alison McLennan
Chapter 11: Patenting the Kakadu Plum and the Marjarla Tree: Biodiscovery, Intellectual Property and Indigenous Knowledge
Sarah Holcombe and Terri Janke The Australian Government’s 2009 endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007 brings a renewed recognition and focus on Indigenous knowledge ownership in the area of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property.1 However, embedding this rights discourse into the action and language of natural resource management has not been taken up by the Australian Government, as yet. Australia’s federal system, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) is ad hoc, with several states and territories creating their own biological resources acts and regional groups their own management processes. The Government-commissioned Hawke Inquiry into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) found that ‘each jurisdiction has different rules and requirements for accessing biological resources’ and that the ‘Nationally Consistent Approach’ policy developed in 2000 ‘should be reinvigorated’.2 Prior to this Inquiry, in 2008, both of the authors were engaged by the Natural Resource Management Board of the Northern Territory to develop resources and tools to ensure that when ethnobiological knowledge is integrated into resource management programs and in research generally in that jurisdiction it is done ethically and equitably. This chapter will discuss several of the challenges we encountered, which accord with the 1 2 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007, adopted by General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007 Hawke, Allan et al. (2009), The Australian Environment Act – A Report of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation...
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