Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
  • Black Theme

Traditional Knowledge and Benefit Sharing with Developing Countries [2006/09]

Project Team: Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi, in collaboration with network institutions

In the context of commercial exploitation of biodiversity and traditional knowledge by corporations, benefit sharing is an area of increasing international debate at different levels of policy making including at the WHO, WTO and WIPO. RIS is participating in an international project launched by the University of Central Lancashire and supported by the European Commission on Sharing with Developing Countries – from Biodiversity to Human Genomics. The other partner institutions are the University of Preston, United Kingdom; University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Centre d’Ethique, France; Vilnius University (VU), Vilnius, Lithuania; and University of the Philippines (UP), Manila, Philippines. Despite the central significance of this area especially in the context of economic implications for the indigenous community, these issues have hardly been discussed or researched in depth. Benefit sharing occurs mainly in two areas: human genetic banking for the purpose of pharmacogenomics or population genomics research (human genetic resources), and use of traditional knowledge from indigenous communities mainly by the pharmaceutical industry to develop new products (non-human genetic resources). As a part of this project, a study on the Kani case from Kerala was undertaken to demonstrate the nuances of a possible model for an access and benefit sharing regime. This study along with other four case studies was presented at an international conference on ABS, hosted by the RIS in New Delhi. Since this debate is extremely relevant to the on-going global negotiations in the realm of biodiversity conservation and protection of indigenous knowledge at forums such as the CBD and WTO, RIS invited key negotiations to the conference. In 2008, RIS is expected to provide inputs for the project work, on the basis of key arguments from the debates at the other relevant fora like WIPO so as to enhance the policy relevance of all the case studies. Another mandate from the project this year is to explore the possible inclusion of human genetic resources in the current CBD framework.