Namibia recently passed their national law on bioprospecting called Access to Biological and Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge Bill. This is an historic moment as Namibia’s enactment of their law implements the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Nagoya Protocol.
Their legislation applies to biological and genetic resources as found in or outside of their natural habitat, the derivatives of such resources, associated traditional knowledge, and benefits arising from their use, including commercial use. The law also sets out both to recognize and protect the rights of local communities over their genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.
The legislation recognizes and protects community intellectual property rights over genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. It states that the “State must recognize and protect the community intellectual property rights as they are enshrined and protected under the norms, practices and customary law found in, and recognized by, the concerned local communities, whether such law is written or not.”
Namibia is therefore leading in the Africa region in explicitly protecting communities’ rights to recognition of their associated traditional knowledge. This is often the area where the Africa region is still vulnerable.
The text of the bill can be accessed here.