Two UNSW Sydney academics are paving the way in helping protect against biopiracy, ensuring that the benefits of products developed from bush foods and traditional medicines are fed back to the original owners and communities.
Daniel Robinson, a professor of environmental management within UNSW’s Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, has spent the past decade and a half working with Indigenous people across the Asia-Pacific region, assisting them in asserting their rights with respect to biodiscovery, traditional knowledge and IP, land and resources.
Recently, Prof. Robinson has been working with UNSW colleague and Senior Scientia Lecturer Dr Margaret Raven, a proud Yamatji and Noongar woman originally from Western Australia, supporting Indigenous enterprises and communities in negotiating agreements between researchers and companies tp ensure benefits are equitably distributed. They’ve also been assisting Indigenous communities in developing protocols that guide members and outsiders in discussing access to traditional knowledge and biological resources, often for the purposes of ‘biodiscovery’.
Biodiscovery, reports the article, ‘investigates natural materials, such as plants, animals and other organisms, for compounds that may have commercial applications, such as pharmaceuticals, skincare and insecticides’.
“Universities working in biodiscovery often partner with companies to finance their research on, for example, new molecules for drugs and medicines, new food products, herbal supplements, traditional medicines, cosmetics, creams and healthcare products,” Prof. Robinson says.
Source: Protecting Indigenous bush foods and medicines against biopiracy I UNSW Media