At the 7th meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) (WG8(j)) held in Montreal from 31 October to 4 November, Natural Justice participated in four side events hosted by other organizations. The first side event hosted by Asociacion ANDES and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) was entitled, “Customary Norms and Biocultural Protocols in the Potato Park, Peru” and focused on the development of an inter-community agreement for equitable benefit-sharing based on Quechua customary laws, and the role of the agreement in strengthening local economies and knowledge systems. The side event also launched a new publication on the biocultural protocol of the six Quechua communities that established, governed and managed the Potato Park as an in-situ gene bank under their stewardship.
The second side event was hosted by the Indigenous Peoples Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative (IPCCA) and explored a variety of perspectives related to the use of biocultural protocols for protecting and promoting traditional knowledge, practices and innovation systems of Indigenous peoples and local communities. It focused on how biocultural protocols can become a tool for empowering Indigenous peoples and drive the local implementation of Articles 8(j) and 10(c) of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The presenters at the side event discussed why biocultural protocols are critical for maintaining cultural symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations, and norms of behavior associated with respect for Mother Earth. They also discussed how biocultural protocols could be strategically used as tools to affirm community rights to their territories, to contribute to the management of Indigenous territories and ecosystems, and for fostering socio-economic development based on biocultural heritage. Examples of biocultural protocols applied in the context of access and use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) were also presented.
Natural Justice also participated in a side event hosted by India’s National Biodiversity Authority and Ministry of Environment and Forests. The side event, entitled “Traditional Knowledge and Access and Benefit Sharing: Examples from India”, discussed efforts by the government of India in protecting traditional knowledge and securing the rights of Indian communities to the same. Kabir Bavikatte (Natural Justice) presented on biocultural community protocols developed by Indigenous peoples and local communities in India to protect their traditional knowledge and explained how these protocols can be used to effectively implement the Indian Biodiversity Act in a manner that recognizes the rights of these communities to their collective biocultural heritage.
Finally, Natural Justice presented at a side event hosted by GIZ and UNEP on access and benefit sharing and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA), focusing on reporting on the outcomes of a meeting on the same held in Gland in July 2011.