October 1, 2013

Seminar on Traditional Knowledge held in The Hague

On Friday September 27th and Saturday September 28th UNPO and Indigenous Movement organized a seminar on Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Heritage of Indigenous People’s Rights.

On Friday September 27th and Saturday September 28th UNPO and Indigenous Movement organized a seminar on Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Heritage in The Hague. The seminar was led by Quetzal Tzab of Indigenous Movement and he spoke profusely about the many issues Indigenous people face with respect to their Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Heritage. Participants of the seminar included members of various indigenous groups, such as the Kali’na and the Lokono, representatives of NGO’s, such as Survival International, and others that were interested in the topic of Indigenous Rights.

Traditional Knowledge in the context of the seminar encompassed the collective traditions, customs, and practices of indigenous communities, as well as the international treaties attached to it. The seminar focused, inter alia, on food, crop varieties, agricultural/farming practices, sustainable management of natural resources, and conservation of biological diversity and the benefits associated with the proper use of this Traditional Knowledge. The Traditional Knowledge with respect to these topics varies greatly between the different indigenous groups of the world and this is what was understood to be their Biocultural Heritage. The seminar showcased the potential Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Heritage have to empower indigenous communities all over the world through branding and licensing products that are inherent to their culture. Examples of this include traditional garments and produce that are native to their communities.

Another topic that was touched upon in the seminar is biodiversity. The UN decade of Biodiversity started in 2011 and the goals that were set out are to be achieved by 2020. This will be a difficult task however as there are various underlying economic and political factors that influence the decisions that are made regarding these goals. By engaging the youth, reconnecting with the land, and linking biodiversity to personal satisfaction these goals will become much more attainable. In addition non-indigenous peoples should help implement new ideas to give solutions that have the potential to resonante in the rest of the world. 

Attached Documents