Traditional Knowledge

Traditional Knowledge

Since the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) came into force in 1993, much has changed in its interpretation thanks to tenacious efforts by Indigenous peoples and local communities to expansively interpret their right to traditional knowledge under Article 8(j) and their right to the customary use of biological resources under Article 10(c). Indigenous peoples and local communities have utilized growing evidence generated by the ‘commons’ movement, among others, to firmly establish that effective conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity requires at minimum a clear recognition of the access, use, and control rights of communities over their knowledge, lands, and waters. Negotiations of the Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions, established by Decision IV/9 of the 4th Conference of Parties to the CBD, have produced guidelines and resolutions relating to the obligations of states and private parties when dealing with the territories and cultures of communities. Examples of this include the Akwé:Kon Guidelines on the conduct of social, cultural and environmental impact assessments on developments on the lands of Indigenous and local communities and the recent Tkarihwaié:ri Code of Ethical Conduct to Ensure Respect for the Cultural and Intellectual Heritage of Indigenous and Local Communities. The 7th Meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions (November 2011) is expected to elaborate on a new programme of work that will include focus on Article 10(c).

The ongoing efforts of Indigenous peoples and local communities through the CBD is resulting in a deepening of their rights to their lands, waters, cultures, and systems of governance in ways unforeseen by the original drafters of Articles 8(j) and 10(c). Natural Justice continues to work with partners at the Working Group on Article 8(j) and related processes to further support this change in the rights landscape.

Read IISD reports and analysis from past negotiations of the Working Group on Article 8(j) under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

 

Publications

Dismantling the Divide Between Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge (Agrawal, 1995)
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Indigenous Common Property Resource Management in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia (Ashenafi and Leader-Williams, 2005)
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Local Knowledge and Natural Resource Management: A Gender Perspective (Kelkar, 2007)
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Moken traditional knowledge: an unrecognised form of natural resources management and conservation (Arunotai, 2006)
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Social Taboos: “Invisible” Systems of Local Resource Management and Biological Conservation (Colding and Folke, 2001)
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What Is Tana Ulen Good For? Considerations on Indigenous Forest Management, Conservation, and Research in the Interior of Indonesian Borneo (Eghenter, 2000)
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Videos

Biocultural Community Protocols: Articulating and Asserting Stewardship (Moving Images & Natural Justice, 2012)
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Rooibos Robbery: A Story of Bioprospecting in South Africa (Steps Southern Africa, 2012)
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Maldhari Biocultural Community Protocol Photo Story (Sahjeevan & Natural Justice, 2012)
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Biocultural Community Protocols: A Toolkit for Community Facilitators
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