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Traditional Knowledge Documentation in Africa

11-14 December 2013, Cape Town, South Africa

This workshop offered a platform for critical discussions on TK (traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources) documentation and its relationship with intellectual property rights (IPRs).

Participants discussed with international experts the relation between IPRs and TK as well as the objectives, potentials and risks of TK databases. They improved their understanding of how this form of documentation helps to strengthen the rights of indigenous communities as the holders of this knowledge. In addition, they formulated recommendations as to how first steps on the way to developing such databases within the frame of national ABS implementation could look.

Following the workshop, a booklet based on the outputs, experiences and ideas shared during the workshop has been produced, including 3 papers selected from participants of the IP Congress on TK Documentations and IPRs.


Up to 60 participants from selected African countries attended the meeting, including ABS National Focal Points, representatives of relevant national and regional research institutions, NGOs, indigenous and local communities and representatives of the private sector involved in bio-trade and bio-prospecting.

The event was organized jointly with the South African Department of Science and Technology of the University of Cape Town and Natural Justice. Hosts were the 3rd Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest and Open A.I.R. Conference on Innovation and Intellectual Property in Africa, with the first day and a half proceeding in conjunction with the TK track of the Congress.