Information for G01067
Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Heritage - the Concept of Collective Bio-Cultural Heritage'
Report of Working Group on Indigenous Populations 23rd Session.
National and international policy processes for protection of traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities are underway in various fora. At international level, these include the Biodiversity Convention, WIPO, the UNESCO
Convention on the protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources and so on. Contrary to the worldview, needs and beliefs of indigenous peoples who are the holders of traditional knowledge these policy processes focus narrowly on the protection of the intellectual component of knowledge systems, and do little to confront the increasingly rapid loss of biological and cultural diversity, often driven by loss of rights to use, access and control
traditional resources and territories.
This paper suggests that a broader approach is needed, which focuses on the protection of knowledge systems as a whole, including their cultural, biological and landscape components, in order to safeguard traditional knowledge. The concept of ‘collective bio-cultural heritage’ is introduced, which encompasses the material, spatial and cultural as well as intellectual components of knowledge systems, as the basis for
protecting and safeguarding traditional knowledge.