WIPO and UNEP launch joint publication on benefit sharing

02 November 2004, Switzerland

The World Intellectual Property Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme have launched a joint study that explores the role of intellectual property rights and sharing benefits from the use of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge. The study was unveiled on November 1st by Mr. Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director and Mr. Francis Gurry, WIPO Deputy Director General at the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (who met in Geneva from November 1 to 5). More than 1500 grassroots organisations concerned with traditional knowledge contributed to the publication, which highlights the need, when genetic resources are first accessed, for a clear understanding of intellectual property issues. The study also explores issues of informed consent and investigates the potential for achieving mutually beneficial partnership where traditional communities are involved. A pre-publication version of the study was made available by UNEP and WIPO to the Ministerial Meeting at the Seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Kuala Lumpur in February this year. The final publication, which includes detailed case studies from Nigeria, Mali and India, may be ordered from the WIPO Electronic Bookshop at www.wipo.int/ebookshop For further information, visit www.wipo.int