THE Ministry of Culture and Tourism opened a workshop on Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions at the OG conference room at the Jehiel Kwaimani Building in Honiara, Monday.
Speaking at the opening, Director of Culture Dennis Marita said:
“This is the first time that any workshop on this important subject is held in our country.”
“For that therefore, my ministry and department is pleased to have organised it and I would like to thank our local and regional consultants, particularly MSG and SPC for seeing it fit also to send in their consultants to participate in this workshop.
“Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions are very important aspects of the lives of most indigenous peoples around the world including us in Solomon Islands.
“The workshop will involve the discussion of a draft bill called Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions.
“This is a new law intended to cover our traditional knowledge in our traditional medicines, food security, and navigational skills,traditional & cultural practices, our knowledge in the form of art and crafts, cultural chants, and so on.”
He further reiterated:
“The fact that we had survived on our small islands this long says a lot about the resilience and wisdom of our forefathers.
“The knowledge that our forefathers had or discovered, which kept them alive in this great Pacific ocean, is becoming at the forefront world trade and business, pharmaceutical development of medicinal products, seen to be important.
“This interest and the biopiracy experiences that we are now experiencing in having some of these knowledge being stolen makes it timely that we put in place legal mechanisms to ensure protection.”
The workshop is the start of what should eventually lead to the passing of a new law called the Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Culture Act in Parliament end of this year.
The workshop is being attended by Government ministries in the key ministries such as Justice and Legal Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Tourism; Foreign Affairs and Trade, Association such as Artists, Carvers, Weavers, Provincial representatives and many other stakeholders.
The stakeholder workshop will end on Friday.