The Indigenous Knowledge Forum is working to understand the impact of biodiversity and intellectual property law and policy on Indigenous knowledge and biodiversity management. It also focuses on how the implementation and operation of relevant laws affects the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples.
The initial meeting of the Indigenous Knowledge Forum took place in Sydney Australia from 1-3 August 2012 with the purpose of gaining a better understanding of comparative issues in Indigenous knowledge and biodiversity in Australia and India. A particular focus was the exploration of current and future directions of implementation and operation of laws relating to Indigenous knowledge and biodiversity. The forum bought together stakeholders from Australia and India, and representation from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Outcomes from the initial forum included developing recommendations for action including policy development, internet based resources and publications to facilitate ongoing dialogue and the foundation on which specific research projects could be built. Specifically, the Forum resulted in a commitment to endeavour to create a draft regime through participant engagement in a working party to be formed for that purpose. Early discussions around that commitment identified the benefit of gathering further information regarding existing regimes from other countries as well as the desirability of consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with respect to any regime formulated.
In 2013, funding was provided by the Aboriginal Communities Funding Scheme of the Namoi Catchment Management Authority (now North West Local Land Services (NWLLS) to carry out the project ‘Recognising and Protecting Indigenous Knowledge associated with Natural Resource Management’.
The second Indigenous Knowledge Forum was held in Sydney Australia from 2-3 October 2014 with the theme ‘Comparative Systems for Recognising and Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Culture.’ At this Forum, the outcomes of the project ‘Recognising and Protecting Indigenous Knowledge associated with Natural Resource Management’ were delivered in a White Paper to the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) New South Wales.
Work is ongoing to support the development and implementation of a regime for the protection of Indigenous knowledge. The project ‘Garuwanga: Forming a Competent Authority to Protect Indigenous Knowledge’ builds upon the work that led to the White Paper and will focus on the development of a Competent Authority to govern and administer a legal framework for the protection of traditional knowledge. This project has been funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Scheme and will be carried out of 3 years commencing July 2016.