Biodiversity, intangible cultural heritage and intellectual property

Authored by: Christoph Antons

Routledge Handbook of Biodiversity and the Law

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138693302
eBook ISBN: 9781315530857
Adobe ISBN:


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In 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signified a paradigm shift in thinking about the “stewards” and “custodians” of biodiversity conservation. In its Article 8 j., the CBD famously included the “traditional knowledge and practices” of local and indigenous communities in its ambit. To include communities and give them a significant role in biodiversity conservation constituted a major change from the state-centred models that had dominated international treaties and development policies for many decades. Especially in the developing world, where much of the world’s biodiversity was to be found, post-World War II modernization and development programmes were shaped by the strategic planning of government agencies, often with financial support and advice from UN agencies and the international financial institutions of the World Bank and the IMF. The “local and indigenous communities” mentioned in Article 8 j. CBD were often regarded as obstacles to modernization and development in such earlier programmes. Continuing the discriminative policies of colonial powers towards people variously described as “remote living”, “backward” or “in need of development” (Persoon, 2009, p. 196; Cramb, 2007, p. 8), development planners of the 1950s or 1960s showed little interest in their attitudes towards their environment, which, if anything, were regarded as destructive (Dove et al., 2005, p. 2; Duncan, 2004, pp. 13–15).

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