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ABS and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) for Indigenous and Local Communities (ILCs)

13-14 June 2012, Bujumbura, Burundi

Members of ILCs - as the holders of traditional knowledge and genetic resources - were introduced to relevant IPRs, such as patents, and alternative traditional knowledge models.

With the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol many countries are expected to develop new or revise existing ABS frameworks.

In most countries these frameworks are connected to other regulatory frameworks, such as the system for the protection of IPRs. The majority of research and development based on genetic resources and traditional knowledge will eventually be subject to the protection of IPRs, mostly through patents.

The undifferentiated granting of patents for inventions related to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge has led to repeated cases of misappropriation of that knowledge. At the same time certain IPRs have also been discussed as possible tools for ILCs to protect traditional knowledge against such misappropriation and/or for their own economic aspirations.


  • Brief participants on the links between ABS and IPRs and their significance for ILCs
  • Explain how the IPRs system is linked to ABS, both substantively and institutionally
  • Provide a basic understanding of relevant IPRs such as patents and geographical indications (GIs)
  • Introduce alternative traditional knowledge protection models (also referred to as sui generis systems)
  • Provide a platform for dialogue where ILCs can discuss and share concrete practical experience on the interface between IPRs and ABS.

Twenty-five African ILC representatives participated.

The event was organized by the ABS Capacity Development Initiative back to back with the African ILCs Preparatory Meeting