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  • TK and TCEs Again Under Focus at 37th WIPO IGC
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    On August 27, 2018, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) reconvened in Geneva for its 37th session.      The August 27-31 meeting is the third under the 2018-2019 biennium of the IGC and also the first opportunity for the experts to further advance negotiations on…
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  • Blockchain Technology and Access and Benefit-Sharing
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    This post was contributed by Frederic Perron-Welch, an International Law Advisor and PhD candidate at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University. Frederic lives in Geneva.    Emerging information technologies such as blockchain may provide opportunities for lowering transaction costs and increasing legal certainty in ABS transactions. The current discussions in the CBD and other fora on…
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  • US Fails to Block Progress over Genetic Resources Text at WIPO-IGC 36
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    This is a companion piece to my earlier reflections on the progress being made at WIPO IGC 36. You can read the first post here.    After six days of deliberations (June 24-29, 2018) to secure a mature text for the protection of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, delegates left the negotiations with mixed feeling while remaining resolute…
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What is the best way to ensure Aboriginal-sensitive access and benefit sharing (ABS) of genetic resources?

Our team of researchers has conducted in-depth focus groups across Canada, gathering representatives from Indigenous communities and organizations to discuss how best to protect their interests through access and benefit sharing policies.

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Rosy Periwinkle

Catharanthus roseus is a shrubby flower native to Madagascar. The plant has long been used in traditional medicines. Its root is currently used in the treatment of leukemia and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Recent patents by pharmaceutical companies, without compensation, have led to accusations of biopiracy.

Hoodia

Called Llhoba by the San people of the Namib desert, this spiny succulent is known for its medicinal properties. Its flowers smell like rotten meat and it is pollinated by flies. The plant is popular in western holistic medicine as an appetite suppressant and is being closely studied by pharmaceutical companies.

Teff

Teff, or xaafii in Oromo, is a cereal grain that is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea. Teff is traditionally important in these areas as a food grain because of its high nutritional content. Teff has become popular in the west as gluten-free diets have become more common. It is a frequent ingredient in gluten-free beer.

Endod Berry

Commonly called the African soapberry, endod berries are native to Tropical and Southern Africa. They have traditionally been used as a soap and shampoo. The berry has a number of genetic uses, and research indicates it may also be effective in controlling schistosomiasis - a parasitic disease.

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