Call To Protect Traditional Knowledge

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Regional Consultant with the World Intellectual Property Office, Maryann Richards. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

Placing greater emphasis on protecting its traditional knowledge should be seen of paramount importance to Barbados and the rest of the region.

This suggestion has come from Regional Consultant with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), Maryann Richards who gave the main presentation this morning, at the opening of a two-day consultation hosted by the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO).

Speaking on the topic The Establishment of a Regional Framework for the protection of Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions and Genetic Resources, at Baobab Towers, Warrens, St. Michael, Ms. Richards told attendees, "The world has changed and technology has been the major driver in that change, and we know we live in a world today where countries live less and less off their natural resources.??

"All of us have a history of our economic development being based on exploiting those natural resources, we provide the resources, somebody else does the value added and gets 10 times the money we make from providing the key resource and we now live in a world where knowledge, innovation and creativity are the drivers," she stated.

Noting that the establishment of the framework was funded by WIPO following a request to the organisation by Regional Ministers with responsibility for Intellectual Property for assistance in the development of an appropriate framework for protection of the region, the Trinidadian-based Consultant said it was a "world of opportunities" for persons to see and identify.

"Long ago, if you wanted to have a business…you had to have money to make money.?? Now a lot of people sit in their homes and actually make a living and the talent and skills that we gave no respect to are now seen as the means by which people are providing for their families, and making a living in this world," she stressed.

Recalling that two weeks ago while in Trinidad she encountered a foreigner from another developing country who saw the opportunity to make chocolate from home, Ms. Richards pointed out that whether the lady wanted to or not the reaction has been such that a business is developing.

She said: "It hurt my heart when she said that when she first came to Trinidad with her husband, she did not even know that Trinidad and other parts of the region were renowned for its premium cocoa.?? Which is what other countries in the world used to lift the taste of the ordinary cocoa.?? She didn’t even realise that, so, initially when she started off her business she was importing coco from Belgium.?? And, yet you have to say to yourself where are all the other citizens of this country surrounded by this cocoa who did not see this opportunity.?? And, she literally started in her kitchen."

In addition, the consultant indicated that persons must become familiar with the Intellectual Property system as it is the only system in the world that recognises and rewards persons for their creativity and innovation.??

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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