UN meeting will examine how indigenous communities protect biodiversity

4 December 2003

A United Nations conference of more than 300 delegates, meeting in Montreal, Canada, next week, will focus on how the preservation, maintenance and promotion of the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities helps to protect biological diversity.

"The cultural diversity seen at these meetings is not only important in its own right but is an essential guarantor of the preservation of biodiversity and sustainable development," said Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The CBD is a sustainable development agreement that was adopted at the UN Earth Summit in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has been ratified by 188 Governments. It lists actions governments and communities could take for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of its benefits.

The CBD's Article 8(j), which is the platform for the Montreal meeting, says governments must respect and maintain the innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities that promote the sustainable use of biodiversity.

Delegates will also look at such intellectual property rights as patents and copyrights.


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