The Protection of Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources by using Community Protocols

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202008263871
Title: The Protection of Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources by using Community Protocols
Author: Suvanto, Sophie
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202008263871
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/318645
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Kansainvälinen oikeus
International law
Folkrätt
Abstract: Indigenous peoples and local communities’ traditional knowledge are essential for the protection of global biodiversity as 80 % of the global biodiversity lies within land managed by indigenous peoples. Traditional knowledge has been misappropriated since before the 15th century. Today, traditional knowledge is misappropriated when corporate entities monopolise and patent the knowledge, without the communities’ approval. Knowledge is also lost due to environmental disruption by development and infrastructure projects. The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol protects traditional knowledge through access and benefit-sharing obligations. The Nagoya Protocol further holds an obligation to consider community protocols, in accordance with domestic laws, when implementing state obligations concerning access and benefit-sharing. As it is only the Nagoya Protocol that directly refers to community protocols and only as an obligation to consider them in accordance with domestic law, the benefit of community protocols and their ability to protect traditional knowledge, depends on the support and regulation of community protocols at both the national and international level. The aim of this study is, therefore, to examine the protection of traditional knowledge by using community protocols, by analysing how community protocols are regulated and supported at the local, national and international level. To determine how community protocols are regulated and supported at the international level, the Nagoya Protocol and decisions by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are examined. To conclude how community protocols are applied and upheld in practice, national legislation and practices regarding the support and development of community protocols are reviewed. At the local level community protocols by the Raika community in India and the Kukula Traditional Health Practitioners Association in South Africa are analysed, together with an analysis of the national legislation relating to the protection of traditional knowledge. This thesis finds that at the international and national level, the use of community protocols is encouraged as an instrument to assist in the access and benefit-sharing process. They are not regulated or supported as an instrument that can protect environmental sustainability, which would also indirectly safeguard traditional knowledge. However, at the local level community protocols are seen as a more versatile tool that can be used to protect the environment, provide access to restricted land and clarify the access and benefit-sharing procedure. Community protocols are by no means regulated or supported as a panacea for the protection of traditional knowledge and the regulation and support for them at the local, national and international level differ. Nevertheless, community protocols are considered to be a versatile instrument that can be adapted to suit the indigenous communities’ needs depending on the states willingness and the communities understanding of their rights both nationally and internationally.
Subject: Access and Benefit-Sharing
Community Protocols
Convention on Biological Diversity
Environmental Law
Human Rights Law
Indigenous Peoples
International Law
Nagoya Protocol
Traditional Knowledge


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