Preserving wisdom

Published: Friday 15 August 2003

-- Sri Lanka has proposed to draft a bill to protect the traditional knowledge associated with medicinal plants. Initiated by the country's ministry of indigenous medicine, the proposed legislation will be drafted by the National Intellectual Property Organisation of Sri Lanka (NIPOS).

According to NIPOS, the bill is intended to devise a legal framework for the protection of traditional knowledge relating to medicinal plants. At present, a working document of the draft bill is being studied. It will subsequently be improved by a committee.

All medicinal plants of traditional value will be the property of the government. In order to protect individuals and families having knowledge of traditional medicinal plants and to give them better recognition, a voluntary registration scheme will be introduced with NIPOS. Abuse of such knowledge will be treated as a criminal or civil offence under the bill.

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