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Aims to protect traditional knowledge, cultural expression

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 6, 2011) – Vanuatu’s Minister of Justice Ralph Regenvanu says it’s a dream come true that the consultations on traditional knowledge laws are almost complete.

The bill’s drafters, Fiji’s Eliasa Tuiloma and Douveri Henao of Papua New Guinea are in Port Vila seeking feedback and agreement from the National Council of Chiefs.

The draft law aims to ensure protections for traditional knowledge and cultural expressions and allow their use for commercial purposes.

Mr. Regenvanu says the measure has been in the pipeline for 13 years with the drafters consulting widely over the past 12 months - most importantly with the Cultural Centre, the chiefs and the Department of Trade.

"So really we are hoping that this is one of the final stages where the National Council of Chiefs gets to give its input, the full council gets to give its input and comments and any suggestions for changes, and once we get those on board we will go to a final stage of consultations early next year and we hope to table the bill by mid year."

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