Protection for Indonesia's Traditional Resources

Indonesia's local wisdom are being threaten if there is no protection from the government to record and preserve it. It is necessary to have a legislation to protect traditional knowledge and cultural expressions that aimed at developing cultures, utilizing traditional knowledge, preserving, promoting and protecting traditional cultures and knowledge, such as by mentioning the origins and respecting religious aspects prevailing in indigenous people.

The effort to protect indigenous people with Intellectual Property Rights according to Agus Sardjono from the Faculty of Law of the University of Indonesia is being addressed wrongly.

"IPR is an individual, commercial and built to monopolize rights while local wisdom is communal, non-commercial. So implementing IPR to protect traditional knowledge is a mistake, unless if it is use to protect traditional knowledge-based products."


Current application of IPR practices nowadays, has not reach the local traditional wisdom because they have different concepts of property or ownership. Its hereditary nature makes it called having genetic resources. The genetic resources and local wisdom of indigenous people are integral. Genetic resources, become one component of biodiversity that plays an important role in people's lives. In their uses, the community usually implement this local wisdom as a social, political, cultural, economic and ecological system of life that exists in the midst of local communities.


“Because of its distinguish nature, the current IPR is not able to protect indigenous Indonesian. There should be a new concept in protecting Indonesian culture which prevent those who are not entitled to recognize the richness of Indonesian tradition and make it as a commercial product. This is a matter of commercialization," said Abdon Nababan of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of Nusantara (AMAN)


Some products from local communities has been registered to get an IPR such as Sumbawa's Honey and Adan Rice of Krayan-East Kalimantan. There is a geographical indication system, a map depicting where a product originated. If there is a dispute over the recognition of a cultural product, then it is returned to its geographical indication. In the international legal system there is the so-called Disclosure of Origin that a culture should be freely expressed in any region or country, but they must state where the culture originated.


Sumbawa's Honey gets its geographical indication in 2011 and Adan Krayan Rice as well in 2012. Representative of FORMADAT, Chief of Custom of Krayan Barat, Leli Gala Paru hopes the product recognition from Krayan can also be obtained by other locally-derived products.


In Krayan, we live from generation to generation. Our farm there has been around for 600 years and it is surviving by the act of hereditary and we expect the recognition is not only apply for rice, but for others too. "


But IPR acknowledgment for local products cultivated by civil society groups, according to Abdon Nababan will not have a power without any administrative recognition that records and recognizes legally any intellectual work of local communities in Indonesia. One of those pursued by civil society organizations is the immediate ratification of the Indigenous People Bill to protect indigenous people legally.

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