On the 15th and 16th of September, Gino Cocchiaro (Natural Justice) attended the “International Workshop on Common Pools of Genetic Resources: improving effectiveness, justice and public research in access and benefit sharing (ABS)” in Bremen, Germany, organized by the University of Bremen. The workshop was attended by various experts in the areas of genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and benefit sharing. Over the 2 days, participants presented on a range of subjects on common pools, including exploring legal spaces for common pools in the Nagoya Protocol; case studies on existing common pools at the local level in South Africa, Brazil, Peru and China; the World Health Organization (WHO) frameworks for sharing vaccines; the multilateral system of the International Treaty on Plant and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA); and data banks for genetic information and marine organisms. The presentations and discussions provided participants relevant feedback and information about how existing common pools systems are functioning and could be improved to ensure greater equity and fairness.
Natural Justice was asked to present on the traditional knowledge common pool of the traditional health practitioners of Bushbuckridge, South Africa, and the development of a common pool of traditional knowledge. The healers are utilizing their common pool to provide information to a local cosmetics company, with any benefits from research and possible development to flow back into the collective pool. The presenters at the workshop will also be contributing chapters to a book on common pools to be published by the University of Bremen.