This part of our project draws on field-based studies with an ethnographic research approach carried out by a two-person team of an anthropologist and a legal scholar. The work is primarily focused on four case-studies covering two countries. We aim to compare them with the results of the research already conducted on the ICABS in the Potato Park (Peru) by Ingrid Hall.

The four cases are selected for their being developed and implemented in two very different settings – Colombia and Madagascar –, themselves standing in sharp contrast to the Peruvian legislation, which has pioneer laws and policies addressing biodiversity protection and access and benefit-sharing obligations. Specifically, Peru has ratified the ITPGRFA and the Nagoya Protocol, and the Law 27811/2002 (on the protection of collective knowledge of Indigenous peoples associated to biological resources) lays down community PIC when access involves associated traditional knowledge. The text provides for the authorization granted by an Indigenous organization that is representative of the Indigenous peoples who hold collective knowledge, in accordance with the rules – customs and practices – that are recognized by them (Art. 2)(1).


These three sets of diverse and contrasted BCPs under study provide a unique opportunity to test various assumptions depending on the degree of receptivity of domestic legislation to the status of ILCs and their role in the stewardship of biodiversity. In so doing, the team analytically follows the four sets of stipulations that seem to be generally included in these BCPs:

i) political and legal provisio aimed to advance domestic policy agendas or, in the case community ABS exists, to articulate the national and local level of the ABS regime;
ii) clauses related to the self-definition of the communities and to the affirmation of their rights over a territory, resources and associated knowledge; i
ii) clauses emphasizing the spiritual, cultural and reciprocal relationships with nature; and
iv) those underlying the communities’ role as custodians of biodiversity.

Next, the ethnographic study tries to assess the gap between what is laid down and highlighted in these BCPs for strategic and advocacy purposes, and what is genuinely meaningful and significant for the community. For instance, are the customary rules entered in a BCP really followed by the community, i.e. all its members? Or are they respected by only a few members? Are the principles expressing a specific link to nature merely a narrative designed to fit the BCP into a more general and fashionable discourse about rights to nature?

Besides, the ethnographic study will endeavor to unravel power relations within the community and with the non-profit organizations (brokers) broadly involved in the development of these new tools.

Finally, the team will inquire into how exactly local PIC operates, since many protocols do not fully describe the process, except for references to the customs, traditions and customary decision-making that guide the PIC process.



(1) National  Decree  No.  003-2009-, MINAM, Art. 5, also recognizes  and  protects  the  rights  of Indigenous  peoples  to make  decisions concerning their innovations, practices and knowledge associated to genetic resources. In addition, Law No. 28216 (2004), on access to biological diversity and to associated collective knowledge of Indigenous peoples, established a National Commission against Biopiracy (Lapena et al., 2010). Finally, it should be added the regional norm on access to genetic resources and to associated traditional knowledge in the territories of the farmers and native communities of Cusco, which essentially establishes an institutional mechanism to prevent and address cases of bio-piracy in the region, as well as promotes the conservation of, and research on, genetic resources (Peru, Regional Ordinance - Ordenanza Region No. 048-2008).