Biodiversity and culture: exploring community protocols, rights and consent

Community protocols and free, prior
informed consent: overview and lessons
Krystyna Swiderska with Angela Milligan,
Kanchi Kohli, Holly Shrumm, Harry
Jonas, Wim Hiemstra and María Julia
In this overview article to the issue, the
guest editors begin by setting the scene,
explaining how loss of biological and
cultural diversity is threatening the
livelihoods and biocultural heritage of
indigenous peoples and local communities
(ILCs). They explore the role of community
protocols (CPs) and free, prior informed
consent (FPIC) in helping ILCs to defend
their heritage and assert their rights over
resources and traditional knowledge. They
emphasise the importance of communitylevel
participatory processes in the
development of CPs and FPIC, and
highlight the dangers of using these tools
in a top-down, mechanistic way. They then
consider recent changes in international
law that have given CPs and FPIC official
support. Next, they turn to this special

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