Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has hailed the move to protect traditional knowledge within the region, noting that this will increase the earning capacity of Jamaica and other Caribbean countries.
He was addressing Wednesday’s (May 29) consultation on a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) project to establish a regional framework for the protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, and genetic resources, at JAMPRO’s New Kingston offices.
Mr. Hylton said the Government sees the development of a cultural and creative industry policy as an imperative, and is reforming the secured transactions framework, which will allow borrowers to pledge moveable assets such as intellectual property, as security for loans.
“Ultimately, the goal is to drive commercialisation efforts within the creative industries,” he stated.
The Minister noted further that several agencies within the Ministry, including the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and JAMPRO, have developed programmes to support this sector.
The regional initiative to protect traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources, took root at a WIPO meeting of Ministers with responsibility for intellectual property in 2006, with the working group formed at a meeting in Kingston in 2008.
From the various consultations, policy papers were written, which seek to guide the process of a regional framework.
Consultant for WIPO and Chairperson of the Regional Working Group, Mary Ann Richards, noted that the countries of the region need to have a national position before adopting an international position, hence the consultations.
She pointed out that the use of traditional cultural materials can contribute to the economic development of traditional communities through the establishment of community enterprises and co-operatives, local job creation, skills development, appropriate tourism and trade in products.
In the meantime, Executive Director of JIPO, Carol Simpson, said the agency has been working with local maroon and Rastafarian communities, providing training support to help them document and preserve their traditions and cultural activities.
This support was made possible through the assistance of WIPO, the Smithsonian Institute, Duke University and the United States Folk Life Centre, which donated equipment for documentation.
The draft report notes that traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions are living bodies of knowledge developed, sustained and passed on from generation to generation, and are important elements of the cultural heritage and spiritual identity of many local and indigenous communities, nations and regions with a shared history.
Genetic resources are parts of biological materials that contain genetic information of value; and are capable of reproducing or being reproduced.
Contact: Andrea Braham