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Traditional Agriculture, Biopiracy and Indigenous Rights
Published: 16 October 2012 by MDPI in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Social Values for a Sustainable Economy
Abstract: Human beings are a natural part of the environment and as such have influenced, changed and managed natural resources for millennia. The landscape reflects these impacts, and many, if not most, regions have changed dramatically due to human interactions with the environment. Until the last century, plant genetic resources were considered to be common heritage. The history of patent law in the Americas, however, demonstrates the evolution of the concept of private property rights as applied to living organisms such as plants. With the globalization and westernization of much of the world, the intellectual property rights of indigenous people have become a significant issue. This paper addresses the legal and policy implications related to agricultural plant biopiracy and indigenous rights under Peruvian and International law in light of the global governance of innovation. The first section of the paper addresses the laws that apply to agricultural plants and intellectual property. Indigenous rights are also addressed since globalization of agriculture and trade has unique effects on indigenous people and their culture. The second section of this paper provides an understanding of traditional knowledge systems. This discussion provides a basis for describing how traditional indigenous knowledge is cultural and imbedded in the concept of community, rather than individual rights or exploitation.
Keywords: biopiracy, indigenous rights, agriculture, intellectural property, law