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FW: Conference Outline - Protecting Knowledge

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Donald Bain [SMTP:dbain@INTERCHANGE.UBC.CA] Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 1999 4:14 PM To:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 12, 1999
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Donald Bain [SMTP:dbain@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 1999 4:14 PM
      To: ANTHRO-L@...
      Subject: Conference Outline - Protecting Knowledge

      Hello all,

      I have been asked to organize the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs'
      conference, titled "Protecting Knowledge: Traditional Resource Rights in the
      New Millenium." The conference will be held at the University of British
      Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) from February 24th to February 26th, 2000.
      The [following] is a draft of the session themes for your review. We will
      keep those who are interested informed as the agenda firms up.
      Thank you
      Don Bain

      Protecting Knowledge
      Traditional Resource Rights in the New Millenium
      Thursday, February 24th to Saturday, February 26th, 2000

      Hosted by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs with support from the
      Law Foundation of British Columbia and
      Legal Services Society of British Columbia

      First Nations House of Learning
      University of British Columbia
      Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

      The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is hosting a three-day
      legal conference exploring traditional resource rights, or cultural and
      intellectual property rights issues affecting all Indigenous Peoples. The
      target audience will be BC First Nation community members and workers,
      representatives from Indigenous Peoples from around the world as well as the
      traditional resource rights and academic communities.

      The conference is tentatively focused on exploring and clarifying the
      following three questions within an international context:

      What is indigenous cultural and intellectual property? What rights do BC
      First Nations want recognized? Can BC First Nations communities develop
      their own system(s) for protecting traditional resource rights?

      This is a new and developing area of law that is not widely understood yet
      it affects Indigenous Peoples where they live and on a daily basis. The
      World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization
      hope to introduce draft amendments on Indigenous Peoples' knowledge during
      the TRIPs review in 2000.

      The following is a tentative outline of session themes. We are working hard
      on providing concurrent sessions which will allow the conference to explore
      different issues in more detail. The concurrent sessions are dependent on
      space availability.

      The conference format will consist of an international level overview, an
      exploration of how such issues are being dealt within different
      jurisdictions by using three-member panels and an attempt to demonstrate how
      different issues are experienced at the community level with case studies.

      Wednesday, February 23rd, 2000

      6:00 p.m. Pre-registration
      10:00 p.m. Welcoming Ceremonies

      Thursday, February 24th, 2000

      9:00 a.m. Keynote Address
      10:00 a.m. TBA

      10:00 a.m. BREAK
      10:30 a.m.

      10:30 a.m.
      12.00 p.m.
      Ecotourism Panel
      Does ecotourism benefit local communities? Does it benefit the environment?
      Or does it perpetuate patterns of power and dominance that are destructive
      of the environment and of the people?

      Art Panel
      The cultural designs and motifs of our communities communicate our ideas and
      beliefs. Can such images be "owned" by a community or by an artist? What are
      the consequences when they are expropriated and mass-produced? Can the
      current legal tools of copyrights, patents and trademarks protect the
      cultural integrity of such images?

      12:00 p.m. LUNCH
      1:00 p.m.

      1:00 p.m.
      2:30 p.m.
      Forest Resources Panel
      What are Forest Resources? How can Forest Resources be protected? Does
      such protection afford "sustainable management"?

      Repatriation Panel
      The repatriation of cultural objects is important to many communities. This
      session will ask how are different communities dealing with repatriation?
      What are the obstacles? What are the strategies?

      2:30 p.m. BREAK
      3:00 p.m.

      3:00 p.m.
      4:30 p.m.
      Nonlegal Instruments Panel
      Are there alternatives to the legal system that communities can use to
      protect their territories? Alternatives include non-legal, market-related
      measures. This session will introduce such measures like investment
      screens, shareholder advocacy, consumer action and product certification.

      Oral History Panel
      Songs, dances, names and stories tell us who we are. What happens when oral
      history is shared? What happens when there is a breach of confidentiality?
      Should there be more community control of research projects? What are the
      ways to protect oral history?

      Friday, February 25th, 2000

      9:00 a.m.
      10:00 a.m.
      International Human Rights Overview
      A brief look at international human rights and the effectiveness of
      international efforts like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
      International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

      International Biodiversity Overview
      What do international efforts like The Convention of Biological Diversity
      and the Rio Declaration mean at the community level? This is meant to be an
      overview of what is happening on the international level.

      10:00 a.m. BREAK
      10:30 a.m.

      10:30 am.
      12:00 p.m.
      What is Article 8(j)?
      Article 8(j) of The Convention of Biological Diversity obliges the
      signatories to essentially acknowledge the importance of Traditional
      Ecological Knowledge (TEK), traditional lifestyles and sustainability, the
      promotion of the idea of consent in the use of TEK and the idea of benefit
      sharing and customary use. This is a closer look of what Article 8(j) means
      at the community level.

      Medicinal Plants Panel
      The value of medicinal plants go beyond health. The cultural and spiritual
      values of the knowledge of medicinal plants cannot be discounted. What
      happens when medicinal plant knowledge is shared? Is it ethnobotany? Can
      one simply separate the medicinal qualities from the cultural context?

      12:00 p.m. LUNCH
      1:00 p.m.

      1:00 p.m.
      2:30 p.m.
      Sacred Sites Panel The major issues for Sacred Sites include unrestricted
      access; site protection; privacy; and the integrity of the ecosystem. What
      strategies can we learn from those communities who are willing to share
      their experiences?

      Biopiracy Case Study
      What is biopiracy or biodiversity prospecting? How does it impact
      Indigenous Peoples' rights in terms of Intellectual Property Rights laws?
      Are such laws adequate or appropriate? What examples or instances can we
      learn from?

      2:30 p.m. BREAK
      3:00 p.m.

      3:00 p.m.
      4:30 p.m.
      Biodiversity Panel
      Biodiversity conservation is becoming more and more difficult. Technological
      change and the commercialization of biological resources have raised
      fundamental scientific, economic, socio-political and ethical questions.
      This panel will discuss their experiences and answer questions based on
      their experiences.

      How can communities respond to the growing concerns regarding Intellectual
      Property? One way is through the use of Indigenous Peoples' declarations.
      This proposed session will help those who are interested, considering and/or
      planning on drafting such a declaration.

      Saturday, February 26th, 2000

      9:00 a.m.
      10:00 a.m.
      International Legal Review
      A review of the importance and relevance to communities of legally binding
      international agreements like the International Covenant on Economic, Social
      and Cultural Rights; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
      The World Heritage Convention; and the Rome Convention.

      TRIPs Review
      An examination of the Gatt Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of
      Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Why is this important at the
      community level?

      10:00 a.m. BREAK
      10:30 a.m.

      10:30 a.m.
      12.00 p.m.
      Repatriation Case Study
      This proposed session is meant to be a follow-up to the Repatriation Panel
      discussion and will look in detail how one community has dealt with
      repatriation. What did they do in order to be successful in the
      repatriation of their community objects? What are the problems that they are

      Drafting a Community Intellectual Rights Act
      In 1994, a Third World Network discussion paper (Nijar 1994) suggested the
      concept of a community intellectual rights act. The idea of the act would
      be to prevent the "privatisation and usurpation of community rights and
      knowledge through existing definitions of innovations." This proposed
      session will look at the purpose and the thinking of how such an act would
      work at the community level.

      12:00 p.m. LUNCH
      1:00 p.m.

      1:00 p.m.
      2:30 p.m.
      Nonlegal Instruments Case Study
      This proposed session will explore how nonlegal instruments have been used
      at the community level. Did the community use investment screens,
      shareholder advocacy, consumer action or product certification to protect
      their territory? What were the considerations? What were the benefits?
      What were the costs?

      Do Pharmaceutical Agreements work?
      There are several companies who have embarked on extensive bioprospecting
      expedition programs. Some have signed Pharmaceutical Agreements with
      Indigenous communities. Some of these agreements are made under the
      auspices of The International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) Program
      which is a U.S. Government funded effort to promote equitable sharing of
      biodiversity benefits in the context of integrated research and development
      toward drug discovery, biodiversity, conservation and economic development.
      Do these type of agreements work?

      2:30 p.m. BREAK
      3:00 p.m.

      3:00 p.m. Wrap up
      4:30 p.m. TBA

      We invite you to forward any suggestions you may have about the proposed
      sessions, possible panel speakers, resource people or appropriate papers and
      documents that would be suitable for inclusion in the conference kit.

      We will be updating our website (http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/protect.htm) with
      links to sites and papers related to the conference theme. As well, we will
      be using an email list to keep those who wish to be kept informed. To
      subscribe to the list send an email to research@... with the words
      "Subscribe Protect" in the subject line.

      The resources of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs are limited but we are
      committed to delivering this conference as a public service to all
      Indigenous Peoples. If you are in a position to contribute to or support
      this timely initiative in any way, we look forward to hearing from you.
      Thank you in advance for your assistance.

      Donald Bain
      Conference Coordinator

      Phone: (604) 684-0231
      Fax: (604) 684-5726
      Email: research@...
      URL: http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/protect.htm
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