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The international legal landscape on rights of indigenous peoples is gathering momentum around the protection of their traditional knowledge and genetic resources. This international momentum is simultaneously engendering complementary trajectories in national law and policy, with terms like 'access and benefit sharing' and 'sui generis' protection of traditional knowledge. While these laws attempt to identify rights-holders, define procedures for engagement and outline parameters for what is balanced, fair and equitable they also need to be reconciled with the role and relationship of communities in respect to their lands and knowledge. Genuine engagement with communities has been difficult with lawmakers and businesses understanding community rights to their resources and knowledge from a purely economic point of view. This article identifies lessons from the best practice approach of Ethical BioTrade using biocultural community protocols as a way to deal with this challenge.
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