Friday, December 18, 2009

Traditional Knowledge Commons Workshop

On December 14th and 15th 2009, Natural Justice, the International Development Law Organization, and the University of Cape Town's Intellectual Property Law and Policy Research Unit co-hosted the Traditional Knowledge Commons Workshop in Cape Town. Advocates of indigenous and local communities and experts in IP law and ABS issues, participated in this 2 day workshop to critically engage the many implementation issues an international regime on access and benefit sharing will have to contend with once it is in place. Specifically, the participants considered the unique problems presented by non-commercial research related to traditional knowledge (TK). The workshop focused on a potential TK commons model proposed as one possible mechanism for facilitating the expanded flow of benefits generated by TK-based non-commmercial research while simultaneously increasing recognition and respect of sui generis customary law. Through their insightful critiques of this potential model, the participants identified several key factors to be addressed in future work addressing the issues raised by non-commercial TK-research. Natural Justice extends its sincere gratitude to all the participants for their invaluable contributions.

ABS Steering Committee Meeting

In the 2nd week of December 2009, Kabir Bavikatte attended the ABS Initiative for Africa's Steering Committee Meeting in Cairo where he participated in reflecting on the ABS Initiative's activities in 2009 and planning for its activities in 2010. In Cairo he also participated in the Pan African ABS Workshop, where he conducted a session for the participants on biocultural community protocols through the use of a case study. Kabir was also involved in the ABS and GEF planning meeting for Africa where he supported the South African Assistant Director for Resource Use in developing South Africa's ABS priorities to be achieved using the GEF funds.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate Justice Alliance

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance committee member and friend of Natural Justice, Augustine Njamnshi (Cameroon), today reacted to the "blindness" of developed countries to the need for strong social and environmental guarantees in the COPs outcome. He accuses developed countries of marginalizing IPLCs and NGOs voices in the COP and argues that developing countries are not fighting hard enough to guarantee climate justice, i.e. an agreement that promotes equity, especially for those most vulnerable to climate change. To read more about the Alliance, click here.

Indigenous Voices

On the day indigenous peoples, local community and NGO representatives describe the REDD negotiations as "butchering their rights", a film festival highlights their individual concerns. The films focus on the threats to IPLCs ways of life by climate change, TK for adaptation,local resilience, and local mitigation strategies. Visit their website to watch the films.

Weak Draft Decision on REDD

The first week of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties concluded with a weak outcome for forest-dependent communities. The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice reported back to the COP on, among other things, a draft decision on REDD. Indigenous peoples, local community groups (IPLCs) and NGOs are angry at the removal of safeguards for IPLCs. Operational text recognizing the "need for full and effective engagement of indigenous peoples and local communities in, and the potential contribution of their knowledge to, monitoring and reporting of activities relating to ..." climate change is now only preambular language, lessening the provision's legal weight. The COP will now review the decision and may respond to growing pressure to reopen the issue. For the latest on the negotiations see:

Friday, December 11, 2009

WIPO: 15th Session of the IGC

Natural Justices seem to be everywhere this week. Not only are they in Copenhagen for COP 15 and Cairo for the Pan African Regional on ABS but also Geneva, Switzerland for WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC). Gino Cocchiaro, an associate of Natural Justice, has attended the week long negotiations, which will be the first since the IGC’s new mandate that includes a call to submit to the WIPO General Assembly text (or texts) of an international instrument (or instruments) to ensure the effective protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions by 2011, has come into force. Natural Justice is eager to see whether this historically protracted process will gather pace given the new mandate and spur parties to fruitful text-based negotiations on the proposed international instrument.

The first Joint Meeting of the IGC and CBD African Working Groups: Nairobi, Kenya

This meeting, organized by Natural Justice, International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and the ABS Capacity Initiative for Africa, brought together key negotiators from the African working groups of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Intergovernmental Committee on intellectual property, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore (IGC) for the first time. The aim of the meeting was to establish some co-ordination and harmonization between the two groups, given the close linkages in their work to develop international instruments on access and benefit sharing (CBD) and intellectual property, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore (IGC). Whilst the 2 day meeting allowed the negotiators to discuss and share information, it also provided an opportunity for them to plan their continued collaboration into 2010. Natural Justice looks forward to supporting the groups throughout this process.

COP 15, REDD and Community Guidelines

On the day Obama receives the Nobel Peace Prize, a report entitled "Building Confidence in REDD" formed the basis of one of the side events in Copenhagen. At the event on REDD, Rosalind Reeve, Global Witness, voiced concern about the low levels of forest governance in many countries that will host REDD projects. In response, she set out a proposal to establish minimum standards for independent forest monitoring. While Natural Justice agrees with the need for guidelines, together with indigenous groups present at the COP, we argue that voluntary guidelines are weak without legal recognition of customary laws, community level procedures and community protocols. The REDD negotiations continue.
For more information see:

Deputy Ministerial Visit

The Natural Justice office in Cape Town was visited by the Deputy Minister, Department of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, to congratulate Natural Justice on winning the SEED Gold Prize for 2009. The Deputy Minister also serves on the international SEED board, and was particularly interested in hearing how Natural Justice is using bio-cultural community protocols to empower ILC’s in ABS and other negotiations frameworks. The visit was an informal one, in which the Deputy Minister offered the support of SEED and DST; the formal award ceremony to take place in January 2010. In the picture opposite, the Deputy Minister, left, speaks to Johanna von Braun and Scott Dunlop of Natural Justice.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Biocultural Community Protocols in the Headlines

Natural Justice's work in India has been recognized by the Union Health Ministry's AYUSH department. The Times of India reports that a task force will be set up to provide legal recognition for development of traditional healthcare practitioners. AYUSH is considering establishing an inter-ministerial working group in consultation with the Ministry of Environment and Forests for capacity-building of local communities to develop Bio-cultural Community Protocols (BCPs) which affirm communities' rights to the customary use of their natural resources and to regulate access to their traditional knowledge and genetic resources according to free, prior and informed consent. Click here for the link to the article.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


The 15th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC opened yesterday in Copenhagen, Denmark. Natural Justice's Peter Wood and Harry Jonas are in attendance to follow the REDD negotiations and to discuss with ILCs and NGOs the application of community protocols to the incumbent legal regime. Peter's early prediction is that the COP will decide to postpone the elaboration of a REDD regime for SBSTTA in June (Bonn) to be agreed at COP 16 that will be held in Mexico in late 2010. More broadly, with over 100 heads of state confirmed to attend the meeting, there is an palpable sense that an historic agreement is in the offing. For information on the negotiations, see the ENB website

Not Just Monkeying Around

Elan Abrell, worked with a friend to propose this as the Natural Justice Logo. Judge Baboo hands down Natural Justice to environmental vandals!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Natural Justice Active in Montreal: Kabir Bavikatte's Report

Kabir Bavikatte supported the African Group as its legal advisor in the negotiations within the Working Group on Article 8j and the Working Group on ABS. Specifically Kabir worked with the African Group in identifying key aspects from the report of the Expert Group on Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources to be highlighted by the Working Group on 8j and to be considered in its negotiations by the Working Group on ABS. Kabir also supported the African Group in the negotiations towards developing an Ethical Code of Conduct to Ensure Respect for the Cultural and Intellectual Heritage of Indigenous and Local Communities. During the negotiations of the Working Group on ABS, Kabir specifically supported the African Group in the negotiations relating to Compliance and Traditional Knowledge elements of the potential International Regime on ABS.

Two side events on TK Commons were hosted by Natural Justice and IDLO. The format for both was the same and Kabir presented at both. Also at the side event by Brendan Tobin, Kabir presented on Human Rights and Biocultural Protocols. Natural Justice jointly hosted it with the Irish Center for Human Rights.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Close of WG ABS 8

The WG on ABS closed today, 15 November after a slow but potentially constructive week. More work is needed if the Nagoya deadline is to be met, and with that in mind, two meetings of Friends of the Co-Chairs have been scheduled for the intersessional period before ABS 9 which is to be held in Colombia in March 2010. Click here for a report of ABS 8
Picture: L-R: Harry Jonas, Barbara Lassen of GTZ, Elan Abrell and Johanna von Braun, both of Natural Justice

Natural Justice Activities at WG ABS 8, Montreal

Harry Jonas presented at a side event on bio-cultural protocols on Wednesday 11 November. The side event was introduced by Balakrishna Pisupati (UNEP-DELC) who also launched a community protocols website developed by Natural Justice. The other speakers were Ana Persic(UNESCO), Barbara Lassen (GTZ) and Brendan Tobin (Irish Centre for Human Rights). Kabir Bavikatte spoke at a side event on Thursday hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights and included presentations by Joji Carino (Tebtebba) and Brendan Tobin.
Publishing activities:
In addition, Natural Justice made three submissions to ECO, a publication of the CBD Alliance. The following are links to those articles:
1) ABS (1) Towards a traditional knowledge commons;
2) Intervention by Natural Justice on behalf of Civil Society Organizations on Capacity Building
ABSWG-8, Montreal, Canada - 9 Nov 2009
3) ABS (3) Article by Johanna von Braun and Kabir Bavikatte: No narrowing of the definition of TK
Furthermore, an article written by Natural Justice was published in Square Brackets, the CBD newsletter for civil society on biocultural community protocols.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Statement on Capacity Building

Harry Jonas made a statement in plenary on behalf of the civil society organizations present at the Working Group. The statement underscores that indigenous peoples and local communities are the lynchpin of the CBD and that they are best placed to determine the merits of any interventions on their lands or regarding their TK. In this regard, indigenous and local communities have a right to demand locally relevant capacity development.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Publishing Activity

In the latest edition, November 2009, of [Square Brackets], which is a newsletter focussing on the CBD and civil society, an article written by Natural Justice was published. The edition of the newsletter was published to coincide with the current negotiations of the Working Group on ABS. The article can be read here:
Bio-cultural Community Protocols as a Community-based Approach to Ensuring the Local Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy

Working Group on ABS

Natural Justice is at the 8th meeting of the Working Group on ABS (ABS 8) being held in Montreal. ABS 8 is addressing the nature of the regime, TK, capacity building, compliance, access and benefit sharing. Kabir Bavikatte continues to advise the African Group to ensure that the future regime is calibrated to contribute to the MDGs in Africa, including tangible environmental and social outcomes. Johanna von Braun, Elan Abrell and Harry Jonas are working within the CBD (NGO) Alliance to maintain pressure on parties to broker a comprehensive and legally binding international regime on ABS. Natural Justice will also be involved in a number of side events including on the Vilm workshop on TK, the TK commons and bio-cultural community protocols.

TK Commons Side Event

Together with the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), Natural Justice hosted a side event on the TKC. The event was introduced by Gino Cocchiaro (IDLO). Paul Odham, Lancaster University, presented on the need for a TK commons and was followed by Kabir Bavikatte who gave an overview of the functioning of the system. In the following debate, issues of compliance and trust between ILCs and the research community were highlighted.

Bio-cultural Community Protocols Side Event

Together with UNEP, Natural Justice hosted a side event on bio-cultural community protocols at the Working Group on Article 8j meeting held in Montreal in November. The event was introduced by Alphonse Kambu (UNEP-DELC) and a book on BCPs by Natural Justice, published by UNEP, was launched by Bakary Kante (UNEP-DELC). A film on BCPs was screened and was followed by presentations by: Ilse Kohler-Rollefson (LPP), Hanwant Singh and Dallibai Raika (LPPS), Harry Jonas and Kabir Bavikatte (Natural Justice) and Lucy Mulenkei (Indigenous Information Network).
Picture: Harry Jonas, left, at the BCP side event

Working Group on Article 8j of the CBD

Elan Abrell, Kabir Bavikatte and Harry Jonas are in Montreal at the 6th meeting of the Working Group on Article 8j. Natural Justice will host two side events, one on bio-cultural community protocols and one on the TK commons, launching books on the respective subjects at both. Kabir Bavikatte will be advising the African Group, specifically on the provision of views to the Ad hoc WG on ABS.
Picture: Kabir Bavikatte, left, discusses the African Text.

Indian Delegation Visits K2C

Harry Jonas facilitated a visit by a delegation from the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Foundation for the Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (Bangalore) as part of UNDP’s South-South cooperation framework to foster information exchange on the conservation of medicinal plants. The delegation had a number of meetings including with the Department of Science and Technology, the K2C Biosphere Committee and the executive of the Bushbuckridge Traditional Healers. The trip culminated with a meeting with Natural Justice, at which the organization was offered to become the South African nodal centre for future cooperation on ABS-related activities.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Books, Articles and Online Publishing

  • Natural Justice partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, to co-publish a comprehensive book on Bio-cultural Protocols. The book was a major project, and will be launched at side events at both the Working Group meeting on Article 8j and the 8th meeting of the Working Group on ABS held in Montreal, Canada in November 2009. The book pooled the resources of several authors working with or associated to Natural Justice, who wrote about BCPs in concept and practice in different contexts throughout the world. The book has allowed Natural Justice to consolidate the work being done on BCPs with communities and give it greater exposure. Natural Justice is grateful to UNEP for providing funding for this publication, and for partnering with Natural Justice in this project.
    The authors of the book were: Elan Abrell, Kabir Bavikatte, Harry Jonas, Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, Barbara Lassen, Gary Martin, Olivier Rukundo, Johanna von Braun and Peter Wood.
    You can view a PDF of the entire book here:
    Bio-cultural Community Protocols: A Community Approach to Ensuring the Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy

    A second book was also published in partnership with the International Development Law Organization to be released at other side events at the same conferences. This monograph introduces the Traditional Knowledge Commons, a concept being explored and developed by Natural Justice together with experts in the fields of Intellectual Property and TK. This book is building on the licensing system already in use in other contexts, but never before used in application to TK, which allows users of TK to access TK with the agreement that research papers and other works will be put back into the commons for other users to access, and that the TK accessed will be for non-commercial use. Natural Justice is grateful to IDLO for the financial support for this partnership project.
    The authors of the book were: Elan Abrell, esq, an associate of Natural Justice, and a doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology,City University of New York. Kabir Sanjay Bavikatte: Co-Director of Natural Justice. Kabir is also a PhD candidate in the Department of Private Law, University of Cape Town. Gino Cocchiaro: Legal Researcher, International Development Law Organization (IDLO), Harry Jonas is Co-Director; Natural Justice and Andrew Rens: Intellectual Property Fellow,
    Shuttleworth Foundation
    A PDF of the entire book can be viewed here:
    Imagining a Traditional Knowledge Commons: A Community Approach to Sharing Traditional Knowledge for Non-commercial Research

    Kabir Bavikatte also collaborated in writing the following articles recently:

  • A short article on Biocultural Protocols for the brackets magazine produced by the NGO group at the ABS negotiations

  • A short article on TK Commons for the brackets magazine produced by the NGO group at the ABS negotiations

  • A chapter on TK and Human Rights for a forthcoming book on Traditional Knowledge to be published by UNEP.

In addition, Natural Justice have collaborated in developing a Traditional Knowledge Commons website, which is still in the development stage. In addition, the Natural Justice website itself has been updated, with many exciting new features added.

Department of Science and Technology Visit to K2C

Johanna von Braun accompanied six DST members on a trip to the K2C Biosphere Reserve in October 2009. The main focus of the visit was to introduce communities to the Pharma to Farmer concept, while allowing DST to observe some of the initiatives which communities have developed in the region. Meetings included one with Wayne Twine of Wits Rural, a visit to Vukuzenzele, a Silk Cosmetic Production meeting, and some other field visits to local communities to observe the production of local products.
It was a productive visit for DST, in which the FTP program was exposed to different communities involved in various kinds if industry and agriculture, and their operational skills and facilities. The communities also expressed great interest in the FTP program. Natural Justice continues to work alongside DST in this area.

ABS and Business Dialogue

Kabir Bavikatte and Johanna von Braun were a part of an ABS and Business Dialogue from the 7th to the 9th of October 2009. The dialogue was supported by the ABS Initiative, the Union for Ethical Biotrade and Phytotrade Africa. The dialogue was conducted under Chatham House rules and was a conversation between African ABS negotiators and representatives of business highlighting their respective concerns. The dialogue ended on a high note with both African government representatives and representatives of business concluding that they had more in common than what set them apart.

Particpating in Regional and International Meetings, Part Two

Kabir Bavikatte participated in the African core ABS negotiators meeting from the 12th to 14th of October 2009 in Windhoek, Namibia. The meeting brought together key African negotiators at the Working Group on ABS to discuss the operational text for the potential International Regime on Access and Benefit Sharing on traditional knowledge, nature and capacity building. Kabir attended the meeting in his capacity as the legal advisor to the African Group and as the leader of the drafting team that developed the operational text.

Kabir Bavikatte attended the 12th regular session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture at the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2009. Kabir attended the meeting in his capacity as the legal advisor to the LIFE network that represents the interests of livestock keepers and pastoralists in the FAO processes. Kabir on behalf of the LIFE network made a submission to members of the Commission on the importance of engaging with Article 8j of the CBD and therefore livestock keepers rights in their discussions regarding ABS and genetic resources for food and agriculture. The LIFE network also had a side event on the LIFE method of breed documentation and biocultural protocols. At the side event Kabir presented on the importance of biocultural protocols in securing livestock keepers rights. A similar event was held at the International Fund for Agriculture and Development the following day.

Participating in Regional and International Meetings, Part One

Kabir Bavikatte participated as a resource person for at the Pan African Indigenous and Local Community Workshop in Nairobi from the 14th to the 17th of September 2009. The goal of the workshop was capacity development of African indigenous and local community representatives. Kabir presented to the community representatives the draft of the African operational text on traditional knowledge and capacity building that would be negotiated in Montreal in November at the 8th meeting of the Working Group on ABS. The community representatives made a number of comments and recommendations to the operational text which was incorporated in the draft by Kabir as the leader of the drafting team. Kabir also made presentations on the importance and development of biocultural protocols and the traditional knowledge commons both of which were received very enthusiastically by the African community representatives at the workshop.

Kabir Bavikatte also participated as a resource person in the ABS Capacity Development Workshop for Eastern and Southern Africa held in Addis Ababa from the 28th of September to the 2nd of October 2009. Kabir presented on the challenges of documenting traditional knowledge and the concerns of indigenous and local communities regarding the pre, during and post documentation processes. The Addis workshop was attended by multiple stakeholders including representatives of government who engaged in a lively discussion on the challenges of documenting traditional knowledge.

Working in Kenya, 6-12th September 2009

Kabir Bavikatte and Harry Jonas along with the LIFE network Africa travelled to Samburu in Northern Kenya to work with the Samburu community to develop a biocultural protocol on the indigenous livestock breeds of the Samburu. The process of developing the protocol was challenging especially because the biggest concern of the Samburu communities in the region had to do with a debilitating drought that was killing off their livestock and uncontrolled cattle raiding. A number of meetings were held with the representatives of the Samburu community including women and elders. The protocol that was developed is currently being workshopped by members of the LIFE network Africa within the Samburu community generating the necessary support for it.

Kabir Bavikatte and Harry Jonas were also accompanied by a film crew 'Moving Images' from India which was working with the LIFE network to make a film on biocultural protocols for livestock keepers and pastoralists. The film crew had previously collected footage of the Raika in Rajasthan who had developed the first biocultural protocol and were now collecting footage of the development of the Samburu protocol. The film has since been completed and is the first film on biocultural protocols. Natural Justice is highly appreciative of the excellent efforts of film makers Sanjay Barnela and Samreen Farooqui of Moving Images in making this film.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Internships: Taking the plunge!

The season for interns is not yet finished at Natural Justice. 2009 has seen the introduction of an internship programme aimed at providing students or recent graduates with an interest in environmental law, community development or similar fields the opportunity to work within the organisation. This year has seen interns working on research papers and concept notes, and assisting Natural Justice within various projects.

Feedback has been positive so far: The interns, coming from varied backgrounds and countries ranging from the United States and Canada to Pakistan, have all enjoyed both the work experience and the opportunities they have had to explore South Africa during down-time. They have sky-dived, bungee-jumped and swum with the sharks in False Bay. They have plunged into the project work with equal zeal, and all hope to return soon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bio-cultural Community Protocols in India

Kabir Bavikatte and Harry Jonas worked with two communities in India to develop bio-cultural community protocols in mid August. We worked with traditional healers in the Valli region of Rajasthan and with the Malayali Tribes in Tamil Nadu and their support organizations (Jagran Jan Vikas Samiti and the Foundation for Revitalization of Local HealthTraditions) to set out the natural resource base and bio-cultural foundations of their traditional knowledge. We developed protocols for each group to assist them and their support organizations to securetheir rights to access forest resources and to ensure that any use of their knowledge is in accordance with their bio-cultural values. The protocols are available on the website.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

K2C Visit Proves Productive

Johanna von Braun and Harry Jonas attended a meeting at Vukuzenzele on the 23rd of July at which the Bushbuck Ridge Traditional Health Practitioners elected an executive committee. Subsequently, they convened a workshop on the 27th and 28th in partnership with the Biosphere Committee for the executive members plus ten others from the group to develop a biocultural community protocol.
They also visited a group of traditional health practitioners from the Venda community based on the North western boundary of the Kruger Park to discuss their progress towards establishing a medicinal plants conservation and development area (MPCDA)Natural Justice has been asked by the community to work with them towards a GEF grant to fund the MPCDA and to establish a project to grow African vegetables. The visit took place in July 2009, and forms part of ongoing work in this area.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Namibian San Council and Nama Traditional Leaders reach important agreement

On the 15 July 2009 the Namibian San Council reached an important agreement with the Nama Traditional Leaders. The agreement is intended to facilitate negotiations for benefit sharing. It is in part an acknowledgement of shared Traditional Knowledge and resources. This agreement will also help in continued negotiations, particularly in benefit sharing agreements surrounding the Hoodia gordonii.

Community Protocols Presentation, K2C Meeting

Harry Jonas and Johanna von Braun presented on community protocols as an approach to securing communities’ rights in ABS agreements at a meeting hosted by the South African Department of Science and Technology on 6-7 July 2009. The meeting also addressed the Farmer to Pharma initiative and constitutes the formation of a bioprospecting platform for South Africa.
Harry Jonas and Johanna von Braun attended a meeting of over 40 traditional healers at the Vukuzenzele medicinal plants nurseries on the 9th of July in Mpumalanga as part of the work Natural Justice is undertaking the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve. Natural Justice facilitated information sharing on accessing conservation areas to harvest medicinal plants, protecting TK and becoming registered with the government.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

International Vilm Expert Workshop on Matters related to Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic resources and the ABS Regime

Kabir Bavikatte on behalf of Natural Justice attended the Expert Workshop on Traditional Knowledge the Isle of Vilm, Germany on 6-10 July 2009. The goal of the expert meeting was to exchange information and discuss practical implications of different views and drafted text options along the parameter of the Annex (UNEP/CBD/ COP/DEC/IX/12 Annex 1) in order to support the rights of indigenous and local communities in the negotiations of the International ABS Regime. In this sense the aim of the workshop was not to reach a consensus on the individual points but rather to have an exchange of technical options and ideas. The Workshop was well attended by leaders of indigenous communities and representatives of the EU and resulted in some useful inputs into the further negotiations of the International ABS Regimes. In particular, the Workshop facilitated the development of operational text on the traditional knowledge which would aid both the indigenous communities and the EU in their preparation for the 8th meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on ABS (ABS 8), due to be held in Montreal, Canada on 9-15 November 2009.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

GLT on Traditional Knowledge

Kabir Bavikatte attended the meeting of the Group of Technical and Legal Experts on Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources, in Hyderabad, India, on 16-19 June. To see Natural Justice’s submission to the GTL, follow this link: The final report contains a recommendation to include community protocols as a means to protect and promote communities’ TK and will be submitted to the 8th meeting of the Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing. For more information on the Working Group on ABS see

Vukuzenzele Meeting

Harry Jonas met with traditional healers at the Vukuzenzele medicinal plants nursery, in the K2C on 18 June, in partnership with the Biosphere Committee and the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. At the meeting, the traditional healers raised a series of concerns, including the continued illegal collection and overharvesting of medicinal plants in the K2C that is endangering the supply of wild medicinal plants, the continued use of their traditional knowledge without their consent or acknowledgement and the fact that they remain unregistered healers, thus operating outside a regulatory framework. The next workshop is scheduled for the 9 July and will address these specific issues in more detail. See the website for the project overview.

Raika Biocultural Protocol

Kabir Bavikatte and Harry Jonas worked with LPPS ( to develop a biocultural protocol to address the Raika’s exclusion from the Kumbhalgarh forest that is threatening their livelihoods, culture and traditional knowledge. They worked over the week of 7-14 June with LPPs staff in Sadri, Rajasthan, at a series of community meetings as well as in drafting sessions with members of the LIFE Network and Drynet. The protocol is available on the website.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

May K2C visit

On 29-30 May, Kabir Bavikatte and Harry Jonas met the K2C Biosphere (Kruger 2 Canyons)Committee and Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency to jointly review a survey on a number of resources, including Marula and medicinal plants. As part of the visit, they visited the Vukuzenzele community medicinal plants centre (to follow) to discuss the challenges the traditional healers face and to look at how the (South African) Bioprospecting and Access and Benefit Sharing Regulations can assist them to protect their traditional knowledge and generate livelihoods. This visit was part of an ongoing effort to establish a legal protocol designed to both empower and protect communities within the K2C Biosphere Reserve, based on the expressed interests and established cultural framework of those living within the reserve.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tribal Links Meeting, New York

Kabir Bavikatte attended a meeting at UN headquarters, NY on the 12-13 of May to provide legal expertise to communities attending a meeting focusing on their practical engagement with the cosmetics and fragrance industry. The meeting was co-organized by Tribal Links and the Secretariat of the CBD and co-sponsored by the Natural Resources Stewardship Circle. Over the meeting, the group comprised of indigenous peoples, local communities and industry representatives worked on a set of draft guidelines, intended to operationalize a declaration made by the industry in October.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

SEED Award Winners

Together with our partners, Natural Justice has been selected as SEED Award Winners for our work developing community protocols in the K2C Biosphere Reserve. An announcement will be made at the 17th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in NY later this month.

The award is an opportunity to receive support from a development consultancy, Adelphi, who will help the partnership to develop our work and to connect us to potential partners and funders.

We thank our partners, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, the Biosphere Committee, GTZ and UNESCO for their support in the application process.

For more details see: