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ARIPO: Adopting of Swankomund Protocol

September 28, 2010

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) has recently adopted an ambitious new protocol calling for the protection of indigenous knowledge, culture and folklore. The “Swankopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Folklore” was adopted on August 9, 2010 in Swankopmund a coastal city of Namibia.  Traditional knowledge and folklore is an important and unique part of the culture and economy of the African continent; it is compromised of all expressions, whether tangible or intangible, of the traditional culture. These manifestations include verbal expressions such as stories, tales, myths, symbols and songs, dances, religious rituals in addition to productions of art such as drawings, paintings, woodwork, carvings and jewelry.  The foremost purpose of this protocol is to satisfy the need to respect the continued use, development and sharing of this unique form of human creativity. Furthermore this protocol will protect these expressions of traditional knowledge from all forms of unlawful exploitation and misappropriation. ARIPO has acknowledged the need for such a protocol not only to preserve a small and disappearing way of life, but also to promote industries that rely on such expressions of folklore to support local economies.

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