It is estimated that between 25 000 and 75 000 plant species are used for traditional medicine. Only 1% is known by scientists and accepted for commercial purposes. Part of the modern pharmaceutical industry is developed on the basis of plants discovered and use by indigenous peoples and local communities, even though the economic benefits are not equitably shared. The Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992 (CBD) mandates that contracting Parties, to preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovation and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices. Traditional Knowledge in the fields of medicine, healing, and biodiversity conservation are well known and the need for protection of this traditional knowledge is a cross-cutting issue at the moment involved in discussions from different institutions, with different approaches. The Intellectual Property Rights mechanisms are not able at the moment to protect those forms of traditional knowledge and indigenous peoples and local communities believe that they are subject of biopiracy which is the unauthorized use of traditional knowledge or biological resources. It is neccesary to work with indigenous peoples and local communities to provide legal tools, and various forms of proteccion of traditional knowledge and to achieve international consensus on the solutions obtained.
Environmental Science & Policy – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2001
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