Going Native

New laws are in the pipeline to protect ‘traditional knowledge’, including teachings and skills of indigenous Veddah communities. New laws are in the pipeline to protect ‘traditional knowledge’, including teachings and skills of indigenous Veddah communities.

The laws could still be two years in the making but a working paper put out by the National Intellectual Property Office is due in a few months.

“In Sri Lanka we are working on a program to introduce laws to protect traditional knowledge. Within the next few months a working document will be coming out for public comment,” Director of the Intellectual Property Office, Dr. D.M. Karunaratne said.

The working paper will also include available data collected by the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine – on medicinal plants and their uses.

“We are also looking at areas like health, agricultural practices, biodiversity and skills of indigenous communities like the Veddah,” Karunaratne said.

Sri Lanka with its tropical rainforests and other ecosystems is a biodiversity hotspot, and bio piracy has been an ongoing concern.

“Bio-piracy is an exciting new area f