Native Village Youth and Education News

April 1, 2009 Issue 196 Volume 3

Peru's Inca capital slams door shut on biopirates

Peru: The Regional Government of Cusco oversees an important biodiversity-rich region within a former stronghold of the Inca Empire. To protect the area and it's people, RGC recently  passed a law outlawing biopiracy for the Indigenous people in Peru. It gives indigenous communities a legal framework to use their customary laws to protect local resources.

The law outlines how corporations or researchers can access native species and potentially patent them or their genes for commercial gain. It includes consent forms and benefit-sharing with the local indigenous peoples whose traditions have protected the species for centuries.

"Worldwide, national governments and international bodies such as the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization have failed to protect indigenous people's traditional knowledge and associated genetic resources from biopirates," said Alejandro Argumedo, Director of Asociacion ANDES. "The new law enacted by the regional government of Cusco is a good example of how local governments can create the appropriate legal and institutional framework, as well as the mechanisms to implement it, to ensure that biopiracy does not prey on the creativity of indigenous peoples and local communities."

Read the  full text of the new law (in Spanish) O.R. Nš048-2008-CR/GRC

International Institute for Environment and Development


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