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India: Benefit Sharing & Biodiversity Protection



  Sep 02, 2023

Benefit Sharing,Biodiversity Protection and Traditional Knowledge Protection in India: Examples


Introduction:

Benefit sharing is a vital aspect of protecting traditional knowledge (TK) and biodiversity associated with biological resources. It involves ensuring that those who contribute to the conservation and development of traditional knowledge and biodiversity receive equitable monetary and non-monetary benefits.
 

Biodiversity Act and Benefit Sharing:

Under the Biodiversity Act of India, benefit sharing is mandated for various activities:
 
Research: Entities conducting research involving traditional knowledge or biological resources must share benefits with benefit claimers and local communities.
 
Commercial Utilisation: Those engaged in commercial activities using traditional knowledge or biological resources must share the benefits derived.
 
Bio-Survey and Bio-Utilisation: Entities involved in these activities must share benefits obtained from survey and resource utilisation.
 

Importance of Benefit Sharing:

By implementing benefit sharing provisions, the Act aims to:
 
Recognize and reward indigenous communities and individuals for their contributions.
 
Ensure equitable distribution of commercial benefits.
 
Safeguard traditional knowledge and biodiversity.
 
Promote conservation and sustainable development practices.
 

Examples of Benefit Sharing in India:

Kani Tribe's Traditional Knowledge in Medicinal Plants: The Kani tribe of Kerala holds traditional knowledge about medicinal plants. They entered into an agreement with the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE). The tribe receives royalties for the commercial use of their traditional knowledge.
 
Amla (Indian Gooseberry) Patent Case: A German company tried to patent an amla extract traditionally used in India for health benefits. India challenged the patent, providing evidence of traditional use. The patent was revoked, acknowledging the prior art and traditional knowledge linked to amla.
 
Honey Gatherers in Uttarakhand: The Van Raji tribe in Uttarakhand practices sustainable honey gathering from Himalayan cliffs. To support their traditional knowledge and sustainable practices, the government initiated projects to provide fair prices and training in beekeeping.
 
Basmati Rice Geographical Indication (GI) Tag: Basmati rice has a long history of cultivation and traditional knowledge in India. A GI tag was obtained to protect the interests of farmers and preserve traditional knowledge. It prevents unauthorized use and benefits farmers and communities involved in cultivation.
 
Traditional Farming Practices: Indigenous farming communities in India have unique and sustainable agricultural practices. Some organizations and companies partnering with these communities ensure they benefit from sharing their traditional knowledge. This supports economic development while preserving traditional methods.
 

Conclusion:

These examples highlight India's efforts to protect traditional knowledge, conserve biodiversity, and promote sustainable development through benefit sharing mechanisms. These mechanisms ensure that local communities' rights and contributions are acknowledged, respected, and rewarded when their knowledge and resources are utilized for commercial purposes.


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