This article is about Indigenous peoples’ involvement in the Nagoya Protocol negotiations from 2006 to 2010, as well as in its implementation to stop biopiracy in order to protect Pachamama, Mother Earth, and to ensure our survival and the survival of coming generations. The Nagoya Protocol is an international instrument that was adopted in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010 by the Conference of Parties (COP 10) and ratified by 51 countries in Pyeongchang, South Korea in October 2014 at COP 12. This protocol governs access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization (access and benefit sharing [ABS]). It has several articles related to Indigenous peoples and traditional knowledge, as well as:

  • The interrelation and inseparable nature between genetic resources and traditional knowledge;
  • The diversity of circumstances surrounding traditional knowledge ownership, including by country;
  • The identification of traditional knowledge owners;
  • The declaration of Indigenous peoples' human rights; and
  • The role of women in the biodiversity process.

In addition, this protocol lays out obligations on access, specifically participation in equitable benefit sharing, the accomplishment of prior and informed consent, and the mutually agreed terms and elaboration of a national legal ABS framework with the participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities in order to have well-defined roles, responsibilities, and times of negotiations.


I would like to thank the Elders of my community for guiding my way of feeling, thinking, and being that allowed me to participate with a clear mind and respect at international meetings on genetic resources and traditional knowledge. My deepest thanks to the Indigenous International Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) and the Indigenous Women Network on Biodiversity from Latin America and the Caribbean (IWNB-LAC) for being together all these years to defend our resources and life through an organized and documented effort. I would also like to acknowledge the moral and financial support from the Vice-President of the Equity and Inclusion Division and the Director of Native American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico.

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