Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Botswana to develop policy to protect traditional knowledge

Botswana is developing a policy to protect, preserve and promote its indigenous knowledge and mainstream it into the country's macro-economic framework. Development of the policy will involve identifying, documenting and gathering local traditional knowledge practices from areas including agriculture, health, culture and religious beliefs, and then feeding them into a legislative framework. According to its project manager,Oabona Monngakgotla, "The initiative is intended to bring economic empowerment through benefit-sharing and [providing] royalties to communities rich in indigenous knowledge," said Oabona Monngakgotla, the project's manager. He said that Botswana has realised the importance of indigenous knowledge, such as using traditional herbal medicines to improve health and generate income. Botswana has no specific laws on indigenous knowledge systems. Instead it has isolated policies on natural resources, such as the National Policy on Natural Resource Conservation and Development and the National Policy on Culture, which fit within international frameworks including the Nagoya Protocol, an international agreement to combat biopiracy and share benefits from national resources research fairly.

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