My sincere appreciation to the Ministry of Natural Resources ... - NRE

nre.gov.my

My sincere appreciation to the Ministry of Natural Resources ... - NRE

Slide 7What is Indigenous/Traditional Knowledge?These sophisticated sets ofunderstandings, interpretationsand means are part and parcel of acultural complex thatencompasses language, namingand classification systems,resource use practices, ritual,spirituality and worldview.These sophisticated sets ofunderstandings, interpretations andmeans are part and parcel of a culturalcomplex that encompasses language,naming and classification systems,resource use practices, ritual,spirituality and worldview.Slide 8Traditional knowledgeincludes expressions ofcultural values, beliefs,rituals and communitylaws, and knowledgeregarding land andecosystemmanagement.Also, in the context of indigenouspeoples such as the Orang Asli,traditional knowledge generally meanstraditional practices and culture andthe knowledge of plants and animalsand of their methods of propagation.It includes: expressions of culturalvalues, beliefs, rituals and communitylaws, and knowledge regarding landand ecosystem management.Generally, however, this knowledge isnot documented, but transmittedorally.


Slide 9Oral Tradition, a Collective KnowledgeOrang Asli oral tradition is thereforecollective knowledge. Such collectiveknowledge invariably translates into theculture of a people.Oral Tradition is a collective knowledge, which translatesinto the culture of a people.It has been argued quite widely thatOrang Asli collective knowledge, ascontained in their oral tradition, is thefoundation on which members obtaintheir sense of community, personalidentity, and ancestral anchorage.Slide 10Indigenous knowledge includes oral traditionand cultural heritageHowever, Orang Asli indigenousknowledge is not limited to justmedicinal plants.Rather, what constitutes indigenousknowledge includes Orang Asli oraltradition and Orang Asli culturalheritage.Slide 11UN Special Rapporteur onDiscrimination AgainstIndigenous Peoples:Protection of the Heritageof Indigenous People, Erica-Irene Daes (UNESCO 1995),The heritage of indigenous peoples is comprised of allobjects, sites and knowledge the nature or use of whichhas been transmitted from generation to generation,and which is regarded as pertaining to a particularpeople or its territory.According to the UN Special Rapporteuron Discrimination Against IndigenousPeoples,The heritage of indigenous peoples iscomprised of all objects, sites andknowledge the nature or use of whichhas been transmitted from generationto generation, and which is regarded aspertaining to a particular people or itsterritory.


Slide 12International instruments that protect Traditional KnowledgeInternational InstrumentProvisionThe Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 27The International Covenant on Economic, Social and CulturalArticle 15, paragraph 1 (c)RightsThe International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 27The Convention on Biological DiversityArticle 8 (j)The International Labour Organisation Convention No.169concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Articles 13, 15, 23CountriesAgenda 21 Paragraph 26.1The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development Principle 22The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Articles 11 and 31The Aichi Targets of the CBD Target 18Perhaps because of the growinginterest in indigenous traditionalknowledge, especially for the newbioeconomy, that there are nowactually several ‘protections’ affordedby international instruments, includingthose which Malaysia has alreadysigned or ratified.The table shows the Majorinternational instruments thatrecognize Indigenous peoples’ right toprotect their traditional knowledgeSlide 13UNDRIP Article 31, paragraph 1Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain,control, protect and develop their culturalheritage, traditional knowledge and traditionalcultural expressions, as well as themanifestations of their sciences, technologiesand cultures, including human and geneticresources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of theproperties of fauna and flora, oral traditions,literatures, designs, sports and traditional gamesand visual and performing arts.They also have the right to maintain, control,protect, and develop their intellectual propertyover such cultural heritage, traditionalknowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.More specifically, the United NationsDeclaration on the Rights of IndigenousPeoples (UNDRIP) draws on other majorinstruments to provide the mostexplicit recognition internationally ofIndigenous people’s rights to theirtraditional knowledge. Article 31 reads:Indigenous peoples have the right tomaintain, control, protect and developtheir cultural heritage, traditionalknowledge and traditional culturalexpressions, as well as themanifestations of their sciences,technologies and cultures, includinghuman and genetic resources, seeds,medicines, knowledge of the propertiesof fauna and flora, oral traditions,literatures, designs, sports andtraditional games and visual andperforming arts.They also have the right to maintain,control, protect, and develop theirintellectual property over such culturalheritage, traditional knowledge, andtraditional cultural expressions.


Slide 14Convention on BiologicalDiversity , Article 8j…respect, preserve and maintainknowledge, innovations and practicesof Indigenous and local communitiesembodying traditional lifestylesrelevant for the conservation andsustainable use of biological diversityand promote their wider applicationwith the approval and involvement ofthe holders of such knowledge,innovations and practices andencourage the equitable sharing of thebenefits arising from the utilization ofsuch knowledge, innovations andpractices.The Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) also provides specificopportunities for introducing measuresto recognize and protect indigenousknowledge.In particular, Article 8(j) of theConvention encourages countries to:…respect, preserve and maintainknowledge, innovations and practicesof Indigenous and local communitiesembodying traditional lifestylesrelevant for the conservation andsustainable use of biological diversityand promote their wider applicationwith the approval and involvement ofthe holders of such knowledge,innovations and practices andencourage the equitable sharing of thebenefits arising from the utilization ofsuch knowledge, innovations andpractices.


Slide 15If indigenous culture isnot recognized, onecan expect both thebiodiversity and theknowledge that comeswith this to soondisappear.It follows then, if indigenous culture isnot respected, if indigenous traditionsand spirituality are not continued, andif indigenous territories are notprotected, one can expect both thebiodiversity and the knowledge thatcomes with this to disappear ... forever.Slide 16Aichi Target 18 of the CBDBy 2020, the Traditional Knowledge,innovations and practices ofindigenous and local communitiesrelevant for the conservation andsustainable use of biodiversity, andtheir customary use of biologicalresources, are respected, subject tonational legislation and relevantinternational obligations, and fullyintegrated and reflected in theimplementation of the Conventionwith the full and effective participationof indigenous and local communities ,at all relevant levels.Perhaps in recognition of this, theAichi Biodiversity Target 18 of theCBD has set a specific strategicgoal for the recognition andincorporation of traditionalknowledge:“By 2020, the TraditionalKnowledge, innovations andpractices of indigenous and localcommunities relevant for theconservation and sustainable useof biodiversity, and theircustomary use of biologicalresources, are respected, subjectto national legislation andrelevant international obligations,and fully integrated and reflectedin the implementation of theConvention with the full andeffective participation ofindigenous and localcommunities, at all relevantlevels.”


international obligations, but in myopinion, they fall short of fulfilling thetrue essence of what is intended.For one, you shouldn’t assume that byworking with one or a fewcommunities, that you have fulfilled the‘participatory/multi-stakeholderprocess’ requirement.This is especially so when a largepercentage of that sector is left out andis totally oblivious of the workshopsand trainings being conducted,or have been absent at seminars anddiscussions such as this,or where decisions are being made, andmemoranda of understanding beingsigned on their behalf,devoid of their knowledge, let alonewith their free, prior and informedconsent.Slide 19I can appreciate that we tend to preferto take measures and processes that weare used to, or are comfortable with, orare more ‘practical’.It will require much greater effort to engage with, andbuild the capacity of, the Orang Asal in order for themto participate in any decision-making that will affecttheir lives, their lands and their rights.I also agree that it is not an easy task toeffect true participatory/multistakeholderengagement.But I also think that we need to exert alittle more creativity and openness inthis area.It will certainly require much greatereffort to engage with, and build thecapacity of, the Orang Asal in order forthem to participate in any decision-


And who is making the laws that dictatewho should profit and who shouldlose?Slide 22Category of threats to OrangAsli indigenous knowledge• political non-recognition• breakdown in cultural integrity• social and economic pressures• land encroachments• exploitation of traditional knowledge• development policy• globalisation and trade liberalisationThe threats to Orang Asal indigenousknowledge can be categorized asfollows:• political non-recognition (of OrangAsli and their rights)• breakdown in cultural integrity• social and economic pressures(assimilation, poverty, education,marginalisation of women, loss oflanguage)• land encroachments (deforestation,forced displacement and migration)• exploitation of traditional knowledge(bioprospecting, objectification)• development policy (agricultural andindustrial development)• globalisation and trade liberalisation.


Slide 23Measures needed to protectindigenous knowledgeWhat then are the measures needed toprotect indigenous knowledge?Slide 24Two fundamental prerequisitesTwo prerequisite concepts, however,must be internalized if we wantindigenous traditional knowledge tocontinue to protect our flora and fauna:Slide 251. To protect biodiversity, you need to protect traditionalknowledge. And to protect traditional knowledge, youneed to recognize the rights of the Orang Asal,including their right to their customary lands.• To protect biodiversity, you need toprotect traditional knowledge. Andto protect traditional knowledge,you need to recognize the rights ofthe Orang Asal, including their rightto their customary lands.


Slide 262. The Orang Asal are to be regarded,not as mere stake-holders, but asrights-holders to their knowledge, tothe bio-resource and to the territoriesthose resources are to be found in.2. The Orang Asal are to be regarded, not as a stakeholder,but as a rights-holder to their knowledge, tothe bio-resource and to the territories thoseresources are found in.Slide 27Only then can they be expected to turn their ownknowledge, through the use of modern methods toprotect and market such knowledge, into incomegenerating opportunities.Only then can they be expected to turntheir own knowledge, through the useof modern methods to protect andmarket such knowledge, into incomegenerating opportunities.Slide 28Life?Heritage?Future?In conclusion, I can’t but help wonder ifthere is a second-edge to the newMyBioD slogan of life, heritage, future.I hope it is not a case of ignoring life,trampling on heritage, in order to get afuture for some.


Slide 29Thank you for listening.THANK YOUSlide 30

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