Why have Geographical Indicators not been utilized? Is it a question of lack of awareness or capacity? (1 answer)

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It seems that these tools have not been widely employed by rural communities - although GIs have been quite widely used within Europe. However, it seems to me that GIs could be a very valuable tool in developing countries - for example, GIs in particular provide a means of recognizing the importance of place, & integrating this into conservation & development.

I am an ethnobiologist, and in recent years have been working on intellectual property rights issues. At the moment, I have just started to look at the question of the role of IPRs in promoting the sustainable utilisation of NTFPs. I am particularly interested in the role of geographical indications (GIs), which are often mentioned as being a potentially valuable tool for rural and indigenous communities to develop and market their products. Trademarks have also been considered a useful tool for local communities wanting to commercialise certain products. Another interesting tool could be community held plant variety protection (PVP). I am just starting to look at these questions, and so I do not have any answers. Rather, I wanted to highlight this issue, and to ask if any participants in this e-forum have any positive / negative experiences with IPR tools such as these. Regards, Alison Hoare Associate Fellow, Chatham House, London

-- Updated May 31, 2011 --

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    Nov 25, 2008
    One of the most important GIs is of course the appellation system found in France and elsewhere in Europe. The Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO) has been working in some developing countries on product and system development (see http://www.inao.gouv.fr/public/home.php). They put out a GI guide.

    Trademarks are held by companies whereas appellations are held by producers. They embrace the concept of terroir which means more than the product but the mode of production and stewardship of the land. ICRAF has been working on terroirs for shea based upon the shea provenances (contact: Eliot Masters based in Bamako).

    Why are they not used as much as they could be outside of Europe?
    Appellation is costly and requires a long time to develop. It can be modified and adjusted however. I came up with a concept of High Value Agroforestry Zones as a kind of appellation for NTFPs that would cover a range of forest products (wild and domesticated) and also promote stewardship.

    Diane Russell

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Date CreatedTuesday, November 25, 2008 11:50 AM
Date ModifiedTuesday, May 31, 2011 1:16 PM
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