NEWS

TKEC Bill Tailored To Cover Traditional Knowledge

Once established, traditional communities will have a legal recourse to claim against a person, company, or an institution they feel is misusing their designs, traditional totems, or traditional knowledge.
22 Sep 2021 16:18
TKEC Bill Tailored To Cover Traditional Knowledge
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete at Parliament . Photo: Parliament of Fiji

Government is working on a Traditional Knowledge and Expression of Culture (TKEC) Bill, a law specifically tailored to cover traditional knowledge.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs is currently working with the Attorney-General’s Chambers to draft the piece of legislation which will provide for the registration, ownership and protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression.

Once established, traditional communities will have a legal recourse to claim against a person, company, or an institution they feel is misusing their designs, traditional totems, or traditional knowledge.

“Traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions are very specific areas of intellectual property law,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“To provide the protection, we must first be able to identify which design, artwork and traditional knowledge belong to which subset of the iTaukei community. This is not an easy task, nor should it be easy if we want to get it right.

“The iTaukei people have interacted and shared traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions and designs across our long history. Much of the iTaukei culture and history is oral. At times, the lack of a written record makes it unclear who owns what and where a particular design originates. We are doing our best and we are making progress.”

 

Cultural Mapping Programmes

The first phase of the Cultural Mapping Programmes, which is the data collection from 14 provinces, has been completed.

Currently, he said the data has been verified and cleaned and will be stored in the TKEC database which will be a depository of knowledge and information and will morph into a registry.

“The Ministry of iTaukei Affairs has over the years undertaken a nationwide exercise on cultural mapping to be able to transcribe, file and compile an accurate record of iTaukei traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression.

“The exercise is yet to be finalised. After the cultural mapping exercise, registry will be set up under the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs to protect traditional knowledge and cultural expression.”

Owners and designers of traditional knowledge and cultural expression will first need to be established before action can be taken against unlawfully using the traditional cultural knowledge or traditional cultural expression.

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

 



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