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Traditional Knowledge in the Time of Neo-Liberalism: Access and Benefit-Sharing Regimes in India and Bhutan

Barpujari, I. , and Sarma, U. K.
International Indigenous Policy Journal. 2017;8(1)

Abstract: In a neoliberal world, traditional knowledge (TK) of biodiversity possessed by Indigenous and Local Communities (ILCs) in the global South has become a valuable “commodity” or “bio-resource,” necessitating the setting up of harmonized ground rules (international and national) in the form of an access and benefitsharing regime to facilitate its exchange in the world market. Despite criticisms that a regime with a neo-liberal orientation is antithetical to the normative ethos of ILCs, it could also offer a chance for developing countries and ILCs to generate revenue for socioeconomic development—to which they are gradually becoming open, but only under fair and equitable terms. Based on this context, this article proposes to look into the legal and policy frameworks and institutional regimes governing access and benefit sharing of TK associated with biological resources in two countries of South Asia: India and Bhutan. The article seeks to examine how such regimes are reconciling the imperatives of a neo-liberal economy with providing a just and equitable framework for ILCs and TK holders, which is truly participatory and not top-down.

DOI 10.18584/iipj.2017.8.1.3
Courtesy – IIPJ

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