World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Guide to protecting traditional knowledge

Press release: Guide to protecting traditional knowledge and culture published

Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, Monday November 13, 2006:
How can Pacific Island countries and territories protect their culture and traditions from unfair exploitation?

An important - and free - handbook published today gives a pathway to policy-makers looking to protect indigenous culture by legal means. The book is called The Guidelines: Guidelines for developing national legislation for the protection of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture based on the Pacific Model Law 2002.

Produced by the Cultural Development Bureau of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community with the support of the New Zealand government, the 90-page book outlines issues that policy-makers need to consider when developing national legislation to protect traditional knowledge and expressions of culture from theft and misuse.

“Most Pacific Islands countries and territories don’t have legal tools to protect their expressions of culture and their intellectual property,“ says Jimmie Rodgers, SPC’s Director-General.

However, appropriation and commercialism of Pacific culture by non-Pacific people and entities is widespread.

“For example, traditional Solomon Islands music was used, without permission being sought, for a commercial compact disc produced in Europe,” says Dr Rodgers. “Traditional Tongan designs have been found on wrapping paper in shops in New York.

“All too often, the owners of the expressions of culture are not asked for permission and they don’t share in any of the commercial benefits. Too often, things are used out of their cultural context.”

Dr Rodgers adds: “This is not only unfair, it is often very upsetting for the people who own or are custodians of the knowledge. As manifestations of intellectual creativity, traditional knowledge and expressions of culture deserve to be accorded the same legal protection that is provided to other forms of intellectual property.”

New Zealand's Associate Commerce Minister, Judith Tizard, also welcomed the release of the guidelines.

"I am delighted that the New Zealand Government has been able to support the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in this initiative. The preservation, protection and promotion of traditional knowledge is crucial for Pacific communities.

“Traditional knowledge is integral to the lives of Pacific people and is critical to their health, culture, identity, education, food security and natural resources management."

According to Rhonda Griffiths, SPC’s Cultural Development Adviser, the handbook is designed to help policymakers consider their options as they explore the legal framework offered in the “Pacific Model Law”, its full title The Model Law for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Culture.

The model law was developed by Pacific legal and cultural experts with the Cultural Development Bureau and endorsed by Pacific Ministers of Culture in 2002.

Countries are encouraged to adapt the law to suit their situations, and Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Palau have all taken concrete steps towards implementation.

* For a copy of The Guidelines, see www.spc.int/culture

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news