Indigenous Knowledge Governance: Developments from the Garuwanga Project

The Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc.
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Intellectual Property Forum, 2019, (117), pp. 9 - 23
Issue Date:
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Stoianoff Pages from IP Forum Issue 117 September 2019 (002).pdfPublished Version246.11 kB
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The protection of Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions has become a major topic in Australian law reform in recent years. This has occurred in two streams, one which is predicated on intellectual property rights and the other from the perspective of environment and heritage regulation. The latter is grounded in Australia’s obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (“CBD”). While the former has its impetus from Australia’s engagement with the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (“IGC”), the IGC was established in 2000 in response to the WIPO and United Nations Environment Programme (responsible for the introduction of the CBD) jointly commissioned “study on the role of intellectual property rights in the sharing of benefits arising from the use of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge”. IP Australia has led the developments on the intellectual property front while the Australian states and territories have led developments on the environment and heritage front. This article reports on the outcomes of the Garuwanga Project commencing with an outline of the study undertaken to compare nearly 70 nations with access and benefit sharing regimes. The article explains the development of key governance principles for the evaluation of governance structures and provides a summary of the Discussion Paper that formed the basis of the “on Country” community consultations. An overview of the outcomes of those consultations is provided with a summary of project conclusions.
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