Brazil Convention: Countries Far from Consensus on Traditional Knowledge

The protection of traditional knowledge is one of the main themes that have been debated during the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Biological Diversity Convention (COP-8) being held in Brazil.

Approximately half of the 3,600 representatives of 173 countries will be dedicated to studying the subject, this week.

The Brazilian Indigenous Institute for Intellectual Property (INBRAPI), however, does not believe that discussions will advance to the point of effectively constructing an international regimen of access to genetic resources and shared benefits.

According to INBRAPI Executive Secretary, Fernanda Kaingang, countries are not close to a consensus. "New rules will only be valid if we reach a consensus. We have little expectations", she said.

The challenge of COP-8 is to approve a plan to create this international regimen. Decisions are expected, also, regarding whether or not this regimen will be mandatory.

Of the 187 countries signatories of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), only 14 have national legislation that regulate access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

Brazil is among them. Since 2001, the issue has been object of some measures in the country. INBRAPI criticizes these measures for not recognizing people’s ownership of resources, and for allowing the government to catalog indigenous knowledge without consulting the community.

Last week, Minister Marina Silva, of the Environment, announced a law project regarding the creation of a fund to share resources resulting from access to traditional knowledge. INBRAPI, however, does not recognize any national entity as capable of managing this fund.

Created in 2003, as a non-governmental organization, INBRAPI trains indigenous leaderships in matters related to the judicial and legislative processes.

Agência Brasil

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