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.