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Designing an effective biocultural heritage indication labelling system. Consultation document

Biocultural heritage is crucial to many indigenous peoples’ livelihoods, identities and self-esteem. Products and services based on biocultural heritage – such as traditional foods and drinks, personal care products, crafts and guided tours – can provide a source of income for indigenous people, while promoting incentives to sustain biocultural heritage.

Tourists and local people with disposal income are often willing to pay a premium for high quality local products provided they carry a guarantee of origin and authenticity. But such guarantees are often lacking.

While labelling and certification schemes exist for ecological and fair trade products, it seems that there is no such scheme that specifically seeks to protect biological and cultural diversity.

Some existing intellectual property tools such as collective trademarks and geographical indications could be used to protect collective rights over biocultural products, but they are largely inaccessible to indigenous peoples as registration procedures are bureaucratic, designed for businesses, and they can be costly and difficult to enforce. Furthermore, they focus strongly on promoting trade, rather than protecting biocultural diversity.

To complete the consultation document, users will need Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader, and may first need to save the document onto their local device. Alternatively, users can complete an electronic survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BCHIsurvey.

Alternatively, the document can be downloaded and completed by hand, and then returned by post to Krystyna Swiderska, IIED, 80-86 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8NH, UK, or by email to krystyna.swiderska@iied.org.

Feedback by 30 December 2015 will be used to develop a proposal for a biocultural heritage indications scheme.

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