While diplomats are trying to find consensus on an international instrument to protect traditional knowledge at the World Intellectual Property Organization, some countries are establishing systems to protect their traditional knowledge domestically. South Africa will be launching on 24 May its National Recordal System to catalogue its indigenous knowledge.
The National Recordal System (NRS) is an initiative of the South African Department of Science and Technology (CSIR) with the ultimate goal of creating opportunities “for benefits to flow back to the communities,” according to the CSIR. Benefits could include community recognition, sustainable livelihood, economic value and improved quality of life.
Most of the traditional knowledge in South Africa is oral, passed down from one generation to the next, so that there was no record of it, Yonah Seneti, chief director of the National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office (NIKSO), told Intellectual Property Watch.