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Protecting Traditional Knowledge through Biocultural Community Protocols in Madagascar: Do Not Forget the “B” in BCP

Manohisoa Rakotondrabe () and Fabien Girard ()
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Manohisoa Rakotondrabe: CRJ, Faculty of Law, University of Grenoble Alpes, 38400 Grenoble, France
Fabien Girard: CRJ, Faculty of Law, University of Grenoble Alpes, 38400 Grenoble, France

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 18, 1-36

Abstract: As in many other countries in the south, the traditional knowledge (TK) of local communities in Madagascar is facing extinction. Biocultural community protocols (BCP), introduced in Madagascar following the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol (2010) and defined by the Mo’otz Kuxtal Voluntary Guidelines as “a wide range of expressions, articulations, rules and practices produced by communities to indicate how they wish to engage in negotiations with stakeholders”, holds out hopes for TK protection. By analysing two pilot BCPs in Madagascar, one established around the Motrobe ( Cinnamosma fragrans ) with a view to strengthening the existing value chain (BCP in Mariarano and Betsako) and the second initially established around plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (BCP of the farmers in Analavory), this study aims to assess the place and value ascribed to TK in the overall BCP development process and to analyse whether or not the process has helped to strengthen and revitalise TK at the community level. The ethnographic studies show commonalities in both BCP, in particular their main focus on access and benefit-sharing mechanisms, this against the backdrop of an economic model which stresses the importance of financial and institutional incentives; and conversely, a relative disregard for what relates to the biocultural dimension of TK. Local taboos ( fady ) as well as traditional dina (social conventions), which have long allowed for the regulation of access to common resources/TK, are scarcely mentioned. Based on these findings, we conclude that in order to revitalise TK, the process of developing BCPs should recognise and give special importance to TK, considering it as a biocultural whole, bound together with the territory, local customs, and biological resources; or else, TK is likely to remain a commodity to be valued economically, or a component like any other.

Keywords: Madagascar; traditional knowledge; biocultural community protocol; development process; genetic resources; phytogenetic resources for food and agriculture; local community right (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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