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.