National assets in the forms of Genetic Resources, Knowledge of Traditions, and Expressions of Traditional Culture (GRTKF) are already considered as important catalysts for the growth of national creative industries and as “brand image” of tourist destinations. This will, in turn, also serve as crucial catalysts of Indonesian national economy.
The statement was expressed by I Gde Pitana, the Head of Tourism and Creative Industries Development Agency, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Industry, in an international symposium entitled "Maintaining the Protection for GRTKF through Integrated Database”, which was held in Bali (26/6).
Pitana took an example of the Sundanese angklung instrument as one of Indonesian cultural heritage. Its economic value would increase if it is creatively offered to costumers in various forms, such as souvenirs, music CDs, ornaments on clothes and so forth.
Fully aware of those huge potentials, the Tourism Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has developed a comprehensive list of national intangible cultural heritage.
"We have developed a guideline for local authorities about how to register the cultural heritages of their respective regions. Currently we already got 2108 lists from 33 provinces,” said Pitana.
The agency also realized the importance of creating a nationwide database to ensure a synergy of data amongst ministries and other government agencies. Establishment of a national database is an important prerequisite for achieving a common goal of devising a binding legal instrument for intellectual property rights, especially those in the form of National Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions.
Pitana added that everybody needs to understand that recognizing the economic value in National Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions does not necessarily give us unlimited rights to exploit them to our profit. Rather, we also have to be aware of their commercial limitations.
"I have to say once more that this is all done in order to protect our GRTKF assets," he confirmed.
The establishment of a national database of Genetic Resources, Knowledge of Traditions, and Expressions of Traditional Culture (GRTKF) has to be a prerequisite for internal protection, while the processes towards full international recognition are still on the way.
According to Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistic (CBS), Indonesia is currently settled by at least 1128 ethnic groups. "We can say that Indonesia is the richest nation in terms of its cultural resources," he claimed.
"Moreover, Indonesia’s richness of biodiversity is the third largest after Brazil and Zaire," said Pitana.
The Director of Traditional Knowledge of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Wend Wendland, was also present at the symposium and delivered a commentary on GRTKF defensive protection through database. In his comment, he described three important points:
First, it should be decided whether the process of database creation should be initiated by the Government or by an independent institution.
Second, the ownership of the database.
Third, the need for clarity regarding the parties who will be granted access to the database. This is closely related to the confidentiality of traditional knowledge.
This international symposium was intended as a preparatory meeting for the Third Like Minded Countries Meeting (LMCM), which will be held in the same venue on 27-29 June 2012.
Sixteen Ministries, related government bodies, scholars, and relevant stakeholders from the private sectors attended the meeting. Meanwhile, a number of national and foreign experts, including the ones from WIPO, South Centre, and India, will be presenting their views on the importance of a nationwide database for the protection of GRTKF.
At the end of the symposium, some points of recommendations concerning the establishment of a national database are expected to be made. (Source: Dit. Economic and Social Cultural Affairs/Dit. Infomed/PLE/Yos/Yo2k / trans. Doni)