Traditional Knowledge & the Commons at IASC 2011

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Natural Justice hosted a panel on Traditional Knowledge and the Commons on January 11 at the 2011 IASC Conference. Chaired by Gino Cocchiaro, the speakers included Kabir Bavikatte and Gino (Natural Justice) and Margaret (Peggy) Smith (Associate Professor, Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lakehead University, Ontario). Gino presented on the importance of ensuring that systems for the protection of traditional knowledge interface with values of the commons, and elaborated on potential models for a traditional knowledge commons. Peggy presented on the application of traditional knowledge in forest management in Canada and the need to move beyond the rhetoric of State control. Kabir traced the origins of biocultural rights in international environmental law, highlighting the intersection between the movement for the commons, the movement for Indigenous peoples’ rights, and the post-development tendency. The panel was well-attended and ended with a lively discussion around the need to reconcile general notions of knowledge commons with the embodied nature of traditional knowledge.

12 January 2011

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