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  • 40th WIPO IGC: Mixed Impressions as Experts Seek a New Mandate
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    Pre-Session Strategy Meetings Experts and delegates gathered in Geneva for the 40th session of the WIPO IGC, which commenced on June 17 and ended on June 21. With a crowded agenda, the 40thsession marks the last session for the 2018-2019 biennium. In preparation for this meeting, two countries, South Africa and Indonesia, each organized pre-IGC workshop and consultative meetings…
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  • Two-Spirit Identity and Indigenous Knowledge: Reflections on Indigenous History Month and Pride Month
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    Photo: "Reimagined Waterways" by Amanda Amour-Lynx, a Two-Spirit Mi’kmaq interdisciplinary artist, social worker, and educator. Her work can be found at www.amour-lynx.art. June is both Indigenous History Month and Pride Month in Canada. The designation of a month to honour the history, heritage, diversity, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples, and to celebrate LGBTQ2S+ identities, is important for recognition, visibility, and raising awareness…
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  • Canada Steps Up at WIPO IGC, Links it with Reconciliation and Boosts Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Participation
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    The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore – more popularly known by its acronym, IGC – is tasked with the mandate to engage in text-based negotiations for the effective protection of genetic resources (GRs), traditional knowledge (TK), and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). The need for a special international…
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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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