JAKARTA, 9 June 2014 - ASEAN Member States (AMS) will be in a better position to formulate policy regarding the utilisation of the product of their rich cultural heritage and biodiversity resources following two recently concluded policy workshops in Jakarta on intellectual property (IP), genetic resources (GR), traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs).

The workshops aimed to identify and discuss key issues facing countries wishing to develop policies in this area of emerging importance to the region. They were held on 2-7June and participated in by government policy officials, indigenous people’s representatives, experts from academia, the private sector and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

“These workshops will increase knowledge of the potential role of IP principles and systems in the protection of GR, TK and TCEs. This will help AMS to develop policy responses to prevent misappropriation and to ensure any benefits from commercialisation are appropriately shared,” said Mr. Parlagutan Lubis, Director of Cooperation and Promotion of the Indonesian Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights.

“This knowledge will enable AMS to be better informed when making domestic policy decisions on IP and GR, TK and TCEs and will also assist countries in the region to engage fully and influence international discussions on these issues,” Mr. Lubis went on to say.

The policy workshops are part of an ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation Work Programme (ECWP) project, which aims to increase understanding of current policy approaches to these issues and improve the capacity of AMS to design, establish and implement appropriate mechanisms for the protection of GR, TK and TCEs.

“It is important to remember that AMS, Australia and New Zealand have significant biodiversity as well rich cultural histories and indigenous peoples with long-standing traditional knowledge and practical use of genetic resources. There is much to gain in sharing our experiences in this area; understanding how countries in the region have shaped their domestic frameworks and the positive outcomes they have achieved,” said Mr. David Holly, AANZFTA Intellectual Property Committee Co-Chair.

Following the workshops, a policy framework paper will be produced, laying out the key policy considerations that should be taken into account as part of the domestic policy development process.

###

The Agreement Establishing the AANZFTA is the most comprehensive trade agreement that ASEAN has negotiated to date. ECWP helps to implement the AANZFTA and is funded under the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP).

For more information, please visit: http://aanzfta.asean.org