Stakeholder Consultation Meeting on the Traditional Knowledge (TK) associated with biological resources

9th April 2021: A first-ever stakeholder meeting on the traditional knowledge associated with biological resources has been successfully conducted on 9th April 2021 in Thimphu Bhutan. The National Biodiversity Centre being the national focal agency for the traditional knowledge associated with biological resources convened the meeting to bring together all the stakeholders related to the traditional knowledge associated with biological resources and identify different types of traditional knowledge associated with biological resources.  Further, the meeting aimed to identify and designate key agencies to lead the inventory, documentation, and promotion of different types of traditional knowledge associated with biological resources. The meeting was attended by more than 20 participants representing the Department of Culture (MoHCA), Department of Intellectual Property (MoEA), Agency for the Protection of Indigenous Arts and Crafts (MoEA), Department of Forests and Park Services, Department of Agriculture, National Soil Services Centre, National Plant Protection Centre, National Centre of Animal Health, National Centre of Organic Agriculture and National Biodiversity Centre.

The traditional knowledge associated with biological resources is a broad subject and encompasses various aspects such as; Sowa Rigpa, Local Healing Practices, Farming Systems, Ethnobotany, Traditional Cultural Expressions, etc., thus a need for the identification of a designated agency to document and promote different forms of traditional knowledge associated with biological resources was presumed to be very essential due to rapid socio-economic development. Of late, there is a growing appreciation of the value of traditional knowledge as it is useful for modern industries: agriculture, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals, and nutraceuticals, etc., however, it runs the risk of extinction because of non-use, non-transfer to successive generations, misappropriation, etc. Thus, in order to preserve the rich traditional knowledge, protect from misappropriation, and derive tangible benefits from its utilization, the meeting acknowledged the need for proper inventory and documentation of the traditional knowledge.

During the daylong meeting, different agencies presented their work pertaining to the documentation, preservation, and promotion of traditional knowledge and agreed to identify key agencies to lead its work.  The Department of Culture, Department of Traditional Medicines and Service, Department of Agriculture, Department of Livestock, Department of Forests and Parks Services, and the National Biodiversity Centre were identified as the key agencies to lead the inventory, documentation, and promotion of traditional knowledge associated with biological resources.  It was also agreed that the inventory of different types of traditional knowledge will be archived by respective agencies and will be shared between stakeholders in terms of need in the future. As a way forward,  a formal designation of the key agencies will be done through the issuance of the office order by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.

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