Sustainable use of biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge: Securing economic benefits for tribal communities – Kerala & Tamil Nadu

The book explores the possibility of sustainable use of biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge with economic benefit for the communities and countries that have conserved them for generations.

By S. GOPIKRISHNA WARRIER | Read the full article >>

THERE is an irony related to biodiversity and economics. Communities that live in close contact with biodiversity-rich forests are economically poor, whereas people who live in biodiversity-poor urban centres and make commercial use of the biological resources are economically rich. To stretch the theory further, biodiversity-rich tropical countries are usually economically poor, whereas developed industrialised countries, which use biological resources to manufacture industrial products, are rich. […]

A trek with Kanis

There were far more questions than answers. The Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, entering into an agreement with the Kani tribal people of the Western Ghats was one of the efforts taken to work out a benefit-sharing model with the conservers of biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge. Scientists of the JNTBGRI discovered the energy-giving qualities of the fruit of a plant called “Arogyapacha” (Trichopus zeylanicus) during their trek into the forests in 1987 for an ethnobotanical survey with elders of the Kani tribe as guides. Even as the scientists panted as they climbed the steep slopes, the tribal elders showed no signs of fatigue. The reason for this, they found out, was “Arogyapacha” fruits they consumed.

An agreement was worked out between the Kanis, the JNTBGRI and a private company Arya Vaidya Pharmacy Ltd (AVP), to bring this biodiversity product and the associated traditional knowledge into greater public use by developing a commercial drug called Jeevani. The JNTBGRI scientists identified and isolated 12 active compounds from the fruit and filed two patent applications on the drug. […]

A trust fund, with nine Kanis as trustees, was established in 1997.

The benefit-sharing arrangement, however, went through some chaotic phases. The Forest Department had reservations about declaring Arogyapacha a minor forest produce, for fear of its over-exploitation. There was a lack of unanimity among the Kani people about their understanding of the benefit-sharing and the trust arrangement. Then there were the complexities relating to who owned the resource and the traditional knowledge and whether the plant was growing on private or government land. […]

The Nagoya protocol

Also, the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, an offshoot of the CBD, came into force in October 2014, mandating countries to enact laws to protect these elements. The protocol aims to facilitate access to genetic resources and share benefits from their commercial use with the communities in an internationally acceptable manner, which has legal certainty and transparency.

Interestingly, India had most of the elements of the Nagoya Protocol as part of its Biodiversity Act of 2002. Thus, it has much of the framework required for commercialising biological diversity and associated traditional knowledge in a sustainable manner. […]

Srivastava’s conclusions and recommendations may not be the last word on the subject as it is constantly evolving. But, his effort to comprehensively include in the book all aspects of access and benefit sharing will certainly enable managers, researchers, activists and representatives of the indigenous community to negotiate better deals in the future.

S. Gopikrishna Warrier is an environment journalist and blogger.

Source: Frontline, May 27, 2016 (Accessed 2 December 2017)

A fictionalized account of the intellectual property rights (IPRs) discussed above has been published in 2017:

I am very happy to share with you the link to my third Intellectual Property law thriller, The Dravidian – God’s Own Tribe, which is now available on Amazon Kindle. The novel is loosely based on the traditional knowledge case of the Kani Tribe from the Western Ghats. Link to my novel: https://www.amazon.in/Dravidian-Gods-Tribe-Legal-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B076TG5MH9
If you are able to read the novel, I will look forward to your kind feedback/review.

Source: email dated 2 December 2017 from Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala

The book explores the possibility of sustainable use of biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge with economic benefit for the communities and countries that have conserved them for generations. By S. GOPIKRISHNA WARRIER | Read the full article >>

THERE is an irony related to biodiversity and economics. Communities that live in close contact with biodiversity-rich forests are economically poor, whereas people who live in biodiversity-poor urban centres and make commercial use of the biological resources are economically rich. To stretch the theory further, biodiversity-rich tropical countries are usually economically poor, whereas developed industrialised countries, which use biological resources to manufacture industrial products, are rich. […]

A trek with Kanis

There were far more questions than answers. The Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, entering into an agreement with the Kani tribal people of the Western Ghats was one of the efforts taken to work out a benefit-sharing model with the conservers of biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge. Scientists of the JNTBGRI discovered the energy-giving qualities of the fruit of a plant called “Arogyapacha” (Trichopus zeylanicus) during their trek into the forests in 1987 for an ethnobotanical survey with elders of the Kani tribe as guides. Even as the scientists panted as they climbed the steep slopes, the tribal elders showed no signs of fatigue. The reason for this, they found out, was “Arogyapacha” fruits they consumed.

An agreement was worked out between the Kanis, the JNTBGRI and a private company Arya Vaidya Pharmacy Ltd (AVP), to bring this biodiversity product and the associated traditional knowledge into greater public use by developing a commercial drug called Jeevani. The JNTBGRI scientists identified and isolated 12 active compounds from the fruit and filed two patent applications on the drug. […]

A trust fund, with nine Kanis as trustees, was established in 1997.

The benefit-sharing arrangement, however, went through some chaotic phases. The Forest Department had reservations about declaring Arogyapacha a minor forest produce, for fear of its over-exploitation. There was a lack of unanimity among the Kani people about their understanding of the benefit-sharing and the trust arrangement. Then there were the complexities relating to who owned the resource and the traditional knowledge and whether the plant was growing on private or government land. […]

The Nagoya protocol

Also, the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, an offshoot of the CBD, came into force in October 2014, mandating countries to enact laws to protect these elements. The protocol aims to facilitate access to genetic resources and share benefits from their commercial use with the communities in an internationally acceptable manner, which has legal certainty and transparency.

Interestingly, India had most of the elements of the Nagoya Protocol as part of its Biodiversity Act of 2002. Thus, it has much of the framework required for commercialising biological diversity and associated traditional knowledge in a sustainable manner. […]

Srivastava’s conclusions and recommendations may not be the last word on the subject as it is constantly evolving. But, his effort to comprehensively include in the book all aspects of access and benefit sharing will certainly enable managers, researchers, activists and representatives of the indigenous community to negotiate better deals in the future.

S. Gopikrishna Warrier is an environment journalist and blogger.

Source: Frontline, May 27, 2016 (Accessed 2 December 2017)

Tip

A fictionalized account of the intellectual property rights (IPRs) discussed above has been published in 2017:

I am very happy to share with you the link to my third Intellectual Property law thriller, The Dravidian – God’s Own Tribe, which is now available on Amazon Kindle. The novel is loosely based on the traditional knowledge case of the Kani Tribe from the Western Ghats. Link to my novel: https://www.amazon.in/Dravidian-Gods-Tribe-Legal-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B076TG5MH9

If you are able to read the novel, I will look forward to your kind feedback/review.

 

Source: email dated 2 December 2017 from Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala

For Indian publications use the present search window

Search tips: if you miss a Custom Search window or media contents on this page (1) switch from “Reader” to regular viewing; (2) set your browser’s Security settings to “Enable JavaScript”; (3) if still missing, check Google support for browsers and devices. | More tips >>

Related posts

About website administrator

Secretary of the foundation
This entry was posted in Accountability, Community facilities, Customs, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Ethnobotany, Government of India, Health and nutrition, Literature - fiction, Literature and bibliographies, Maps, Names and communities, Organizations, Press snippets, Regions of India, Resources, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Southern region, Success story, Tips, Topics and issues, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.