WIPO Adopts New IP Treaty on Genetic Resources & Traditional Knowledge

June 6, 2024
WIPO Intellectual Property treaty

 WIPO’s New IP Treaty

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently adopted a groundbreaking Intellectual Property (IP) treaty focused on genetic resources and traditional knowledge. This treaty represents a significant milestone in global efforts to address the protection and equitable use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge.


Key Objectives of the Treaty

The primary objectives of the new treaty are to establish international standards for the protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge and to ensure fair and equitable benefit-sharing for communities that are the custodians of these resources. It aims to strike a balance between promoting innovation and protecting the rights of indigenous communities and traditional knowledge holders.


Addressing Global Challenges

The adoption of this treaty comes in response to the pressing need to address the challenges associated with the exploitation and commercialization of genetic resources and traditional knowledge. These valuable resources are often vulnerable to misappropriation, biopiracy, and exploitation, leading to concerns about biodiversity loss and the erosion of cultural heritage.


Protection of Genetic Resources

One of the key provisions of the treaty is the establishment of mechanisms for the legal protection of genetic resources. This includes measures to prevent unauthorized access to and use of genetic resources, as well as provisions for the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities over these resources.


Safeguarding Traditional Knowledge

The treaty also focuses on the protection of traditional knowledge, including traditional cultural expressions and practices. It seeks to prevent the unauthorized use and exploitation of traditional knowledge by establishing clear legal frameworks and mechanisms for obtaining prior informed consent from traditional knowledge holders.


Promoting Equitable Benefit-Sharing

A central principle of the treaty is the promotion of fair and equitable benefit-sharing arrangements. This involves ensuring that communities that have contributed to the development and preservation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge are fairly compensated for their contributions. The treaty aims to create mechanisms for negotiating and implementing benefit-sharing agreements that are mutually beneficial for all parties involved.


International Collaboration and Implementation

WIPO’s adoption of this treaty reflects a commitment to international collaboration and cooperation in addressing complex global challenges related to intellectual property, biodiversity conservation, and cultural heritage preservation. Moving forward, the focus will be on implementing the provisions of the treaty at the national and international levels, with a view to promoting sustainable development, innovation, and the protection of cultural diversity.

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