Protecting Community Rights over Traditional Knowledge - Phase III

Existing intellectual property regimes protect individual rights for the purpose of commercial gain, but are often unsuitable for protecting the collective heritage of indigenous and local communities whose livelihoods rely on access to biodiversity. This is an important but under-researched field, with few concrete examples of fair and equitable access and benefit sharing that can serve as examples for new international agreements such as the Convention on Biodiversity.

Phase I (102018) supported a planning workshop held at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London in May 2004. Phase II (102804) consisted of a series of action-research case studies carried out by partners in China, India, Kenya, Panama and Peru.

During Phase III, researchers in China, India and Peru will address issues related to agricultural biodiversity, with emphasis on rice, maize and potatoes. Other researchers in India, Kenya and Panama will focus on traditional medicinal plants with a view to promoting their use in healthcare.

The results of Phase II were disseminated mainly at the international level. Phase III will focus primarily on the country level, with a view to informing national access and benefit sharing (ABS) strategies.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Monday, November 6, 2006

End Date

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


18 months

IDRC Officer

Vernooy, Ronald

Total funding

CA$ 362,170


China, Far East Asia, India, Kenya, North and Central America, Panama, Peru, South America, North of Sahara, South of Sahara, Central Asia, South Asia


Agriculture and Food Security

Project Leader

Krystyna Swiderska


International Institute for Environment and Development

Institution Country

United Kingdom

Institution Website

Project Leader

Yiching Song


Chinese Academy of Sciences

Institution Country


Institution Website