Representatives of indigenous peoples from around the world spoke at a meeting at the World Intellectual Property Organization recently. The theme of the panel was "Intellectual property, Traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions: Indigenous Peoples' 'right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property' under Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."
Pavel Sulyandziga, president of the Batani Fund and a member of the UN working group on the issue of human rights and business enterprises, asserted it is impossible to resolve issues with certain indigenous peoples if there is no recognition of their rights in the first place. The development of indigenous peoples is important to the committee, but it is not frequently discussed, according to Sulyandziga.
"The defense of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions does not mean conservation or stagnation," he emphasized, as quoted in IP Watch.
Edith Bastidas, legal advisor for the Entidad Promotora de Salud Indigena Mallamas in Colombia, spoke of the need to make what constitutes "traditional knowledge" clear so intellectual property protection for it can be standardized. She argued the term tradition "ignores the fact that indigenous peoples' knowledge is changing and dynamic."