Harnessing the true potential of Grassroots Innovation.
Human Rights and The Intellectual Property System
When faced with an unmet social need, most people adjust and adapt and thus reinforce inertia. But a few try to transcend the constraints and innovate a new solution reducing drudgery, making life easier, more productive and often in sync with environment, though not always. The Honey Bee Network has been scouting, spreading, and spawning innovations from grassroots but lately also for grassroots. There are many ways in which communities and individuals explore solutions to their own but also larger social problems. They may modify materials, methods, applications or delivery system to develop innovative solutions. In this context, traditional knowledge also plays an important role in some of the innovations.
Traditional knowledge, hereinafter TK, is a broad concept that is deeply rooted in the life of billions of people, especially within the indigenous/local communities that have developed it across the world. TK manifests in several fields, from medicinal uses of plants and herbs to artistic creations. Bio-prospective activities during the 90 have brought the TK problematic to the international fora: the indigenous communities, South Governments, NGOs, and some other groups have complained against the everlasting misappropriation of TK. Since genetic resources are scarce in the North, TK has been reaching increasing value for transnational companies and Universities research groups who have turned their interest to it as a critical source of their R+D projects to advance their business and academic agendas and to promote innovation in health, nutrition, climate change, and UN SDG goals. Furthermore, unfettered access to genetic resources and TK plays an important role in many grassroots innovations.