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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Justice Minister: We need to protect our traditional knowledge from external forces

Tabling the motion for ratification of Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expression of the Folklore within the framework of Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo) she said: “The purpose of the protocol is to protect traditional knowledge holders against any infringement of their rights as recognised by the protocol as well to protect expression of the folklore against misappropriation, misuse and unlawful exploitation beyond their traditional context.” 

She added that the protocol was developed by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo) which is made of 17 states including The Gambia saying: “Aripo has a mandate to harness the intellectual property resources in the member states. The Gambia has been a member of Aripo since 1978. For decades, Africa’s natural and cultural resources have contributed to the advancement of arts, science and technology. The biotech, pharmaceutical and health care industries frequently look to traditional knowledge and genetic resources as sources of new bio chemical components for drugs, chemical and agricultural products. Growing interest in traditional knowledge, genetic resources, and expression of folklore has led to cases of misuse, misappropriation and unauthorised exploitation. However, the communities that have generated maintained and transmitted the traditional knowledge and expression of folklore have received few benefits. The protocol aims to address these deficiencies by providing the necessary tools to prevent the misappropriation of the traditional and cultural knowledge and heritage of Africa.

The main objective of the protocol is to provide legal protection against the unlawful exploitation, misappropriation and infringement of knowledge beyond its traditional context, empower holders, the utilisation of their knowledge for the socio economic development and wealth creation, prevent bio- prospecting without prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms and facilitate fair and equitable benefit sharing mechanisms; preserve cultural heritage and diversity among others .I urged you to ratify the protocol in fulfillment of our obligation as member of Aripo and give the rich cultural heritage and traditional knowledge inherent in our various societies within The Gambia”.

Seconding the motion, Netty Baldeh, member for Tumana Constituency describe the protocol as ‘non- controversial as it is out to protect our traditional knowledge and expression of folklore.’

Haddy Nyang-Jagne, Jeshwang representative said the protocol will “greatly help in promotion and protection of socio economic well being of artists and creators as well as our cultural heritage”.

Demba BT Sambou of Niani, Abdoulie Jawla of Sandu and Banjul Central’s Abdoulie Saine and Nominated Member Lamin Saine all applauded the ratification of the protocol .


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