The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Art 15, paragraph 1©)
The Convention on Biological Diversity (Art 8j)
The International Labour Organisation Convention No.169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (Art 13, 15,23)
The declaration of the rights of Indigenous Peoples (Art 11 &13)
The Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and The Convention on Biological Diversity, state clearly the international recognition of the indigenous peoples rights to their knowledge. 1. The declaration on the rights of Indigenous people, Article 31, paragraph 1, states that “indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions, as well as the manifestation of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicinal knowledge of their properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literature, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional Cultural expressions (15)
The Convention on Biodiversity (CBD)
The Convention on Biological Diversity Article 8(j) allows countries to:
“…Respect, preserve and maintain knowledge innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of such knowledge, innovations and practices.”
It also discusses the various regional laws protecting African IPRS systems.
The UNDRP is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous people. Other instruments that speak on the protection of the cultural rights; most indigenous people live in communities. Most of these communities have traditional knowledge, biological resources. Over the years, these communities are deprived of their resources by multinationals. Hence, there is a need to protect these resources legally through intellectual property laws. In order to address these issues of equity and justice for indigenous people there is a need to make international conventions accessible to countries where these communities are. ICIOA seeks to do this through collaborative scientific research. And also, advocacy for some of these conventions like the use of the Nagorya protocol of the CBD: That speaks on the access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic benefits in a fair and equitable way; to encourage the traditional knowledge debate vis-à-vis the jurisprudential, political and economic aspects [both academic and big pharmaceutical companies]. Furthermore, there is the need for advocacy on Access and Benefit sharing guidelines and to examine legislation that enables international conventions to become domestic legislations to address the injustices in the countries. Protect intellectual property rights of traditional knowledge of communities through sui generis legislation where it is not possible to use the conventional system of legislation.