Implications of the international biotechnology legal regime on the preservation of indigenous knowledge (IK) in Uganda:
Barugahare, Edwin Muhereza Kosia
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This study examines the relevance of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the TRIPS Agreement to a developing country like Uganda. Indigenous Knowledge (IK) preservation mechanisms have been perceived as an opportunity through which developing countries can achieve sustainable development. It remains unclear as to whether such mechanisms will be beneficial to developing countries like Uganda. The problem is compounded by the fact that Indigenous Knowledge is strongly linked to developmental and economic issues with the result that if a country was to do away with such knowledge without adequate compensation, its economic development would be seriously affected. The study also analyses how the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Model law on Community Rights and the Control of Access to Biological Resources, relates to the CBD and the TRIPS agreement, how it resembles and differs from the two international legal regimes providing for indigenous knowledge and the implications this has Uganda being signatory to the model law. The study analyses how the contradictions existing at the international and regional level will have far reaching implications on Uganda as far as compliance and the drafting of national laws is concerned. The study reviews Uganda’s Laws and Policies relevant for IK preservation vis-à-vis the tensions and convergences existing between the CBD, the TRIPS Agreement and the OAU Model Law. It also makes proposals and the required reforms necessary for the establishment of an effective regime of IK preservation. The study finds that there is no specific legislation and policy dealing with issues of indigenous knowledge in Uganda and as such the knowledge is vulnerable to exploitation without benefits accruing to the beneficiaries. Finally, the study recommends possible measures to fill in that lacuna.