Objective 6.4 - By 2020, create operational mechanisms to protect the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Indigenous and local communities are closely linked with biodiversity and contribute to its protection. Traditional knowledge possessed by indigenous and local communities on the possible uses of the biodiversity that surrounds them forms an important basis for the conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable use. It is an important resource, particularly in the search for genetic resources of potential value. This age-old knowledge needs to be preserved and maintained.
Holders of traditional knowledge are key stakeholders in ABS agreements and initiatives. Article 8j of the CBD addresses specifically the respect, preservation and maintenance of the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. It also encourages the wider application of this knowledge, with the approval and involvement of those holding it, on the understanding that any benefits that arise from the use of such traditional knowledge associated with GRs will be shared.
Moreover, the Nagoya Protocol reinforces Article 8j of the CBD by requiring Parties to take measures, as appropriate, in order that the benefits arising from the utilization of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources and of genetic resources that are held by indigenous and local communities (in accordance with domestic legislation regarding the established rights of these indigenous and local communities over these genetic resources) are shared in a fair and equitable way with indigenous and local communities (ILCs) holding such knowledge or such genetic resources (Article 5). Similarly, Articles 6 and 7 of the Nagoya Protocol require that Parties shall take measures with the aim of ensuring that Prior Inform Consent or approval and involvement of ILC is obtained (in accordance with domestic law) to access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources held by those ILCs.
Article 15.1 of ILO Convention 169 specifically recognizes the rights of indigenous and local communities to the natural resources on their territories, including the right to participate in the use, management and conservation of these resources.
Belgium participates in relevant international discussions and has subscribed to several processes concerning traditional knowledge. Traditional knowledge, innovations and practices should be recognised in access and benefit-sharing arrangements. The participation of representatives of indigenous and local communities in appropriate forums should be supported. Furthermore, the preservation and sharing of traditional knowledge will be integrated into those Belgian development cooperation or scientific cooperation projects that target indigenous and local communities as primary stakeholders.
Considering GMOs in agriculture covered by patents owned by multinationals, special care should be taken to avoid that their use would alter or eliminate traditional agricultural practices, leading to biodiversity as well as to social threats (cf. obj. 4c.7; 4d.3 and 4f.4). Moreover, transgenes being sometimes possibly issued from living organisms traditionally known for their interesting properties, equitable sharing of benefits arising from those genes should be promoted.