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From WIPO to Vale do Ribeira and Back

Gabriela Balvedi Pimentel

Chapter III. Articulating indigeneity in WIPO and Vale do Ribeira

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1In this chapter, I will proceed with a detailed analysis of the actors and conflicts at play both at WIPO and at Vale do Ribeira. This will help us understand the context in which the negotiation of meaning around the concepts of traditional knowledge and the protection of this knowledge are taking place. As this chapter characterizes the places of negotiations of meaning, the actors involved, as well as the conflicts at play, it will shed light on the process of creation of these categories.

2On the one hand, it will be essential to understand how the IGC emerged, the process of constituting the forum, as well as how the discussion is conducted both in terms of proceedings and participation. On the other hand, the chapter will discuss the complexity of the question of identity in Brazil, as well as the process through which quilombolas and caiçaras at Vale do Ribeira have started to articulate their experiences and revindications in terms of identity.


3The lack of an international framework to deal with disputes over authorship and ownership of collective intellectual productions manifested in indigenous knowledges and indigenous cultural expressions led to the creation of WIPO’s IGC, in 2000. Before proceeding with a description of the IGC process in further detail, it is worth taking a closer look at WIPO’s composition and mandate to better understand where the forum we are looking at is situated.

1.1 WIPO

4WIPO is one of the United Nations’ sixteen specialized agencies. Created in 1967 (WIPO 1967), it currently counts 192 member states. Palestine has observer status at the institution (WIPO 2019a). Situated in Geneva, Switzerland, in an area known as “International Geneva”, WIPO’s facilities attract attention for their imposing glass building and modern conference hall architecture.

Figure 1. WIPO Headquarters in Geneva.

Figure 1. WIPO Headquarters in Geneva.

Photograph by David Matthiessen.

Figure 2. External view of WIPO’s Conference Room.

Figure 2. External view of WIPO’s Conference Room.

Photograph by David Matthiessen

5The organization’s mission is to “lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all emphasis added(WIPO 2019e). The words highlighted in italic give us a strong sense of the parameters that guide the discussion in WIPO and are often used in member states’ discourses at the IGC, as will be further detailed in the next chapter.

6WIPO’s mission is informed by the rationale that intellectual property protection incentivizes businesses and researchers to seek innovation and artists to produce creative work. In other words, the main justification for intellectual property protection is its role in fostering creativity, as well as improvements in products and services. Without intellectual property protection, WIPO argues, people would have no incentive to seek innovation or to produce artistic goods (WIPO 2019). This rationale is criticized by many authors who argue intellectual property is more engaged in protecting exclusive rights than in fostering innovation and creativity, which would exist independently of this protection (Drahos and Braithwaite 2002; Chang 2007; Robinson 2017). According to Robinson, WIPO “has historically concentrated predominantly on the protection of private industrial and commercial property rights” (Robinson 2017, 350).

  • 1 E.g. the International Patent System, the International Trademark System and the International Indu (...)

7Another interesting fact about WIPO is related to its funding. Unlike the majority of UN agencies, WIPO is a self-funded organization and therefore does not depend on member states’ contributions. Instead, the organization receives 95% of its funding from fee-paid services in the cadre of the international intellectual property regime, such as “cost-effective ways to protect” inventions, brands and designs across countries,1 as well as dispute resolution services (WIPO 2019b). These systems have “experienced growth levels that exceed those of the world economy”, spanning from a little over CHF 500 million in 2000-01 to CHF 826 million in the biennium 2018-19 (WIPO 2017, 9). WIPO thus heavily relies on funding that comes directly from the granting of intellectual property rights.

1.2 Creation of the IGC: (not so) constructive ambiguities2

  • 2 This title is a reference to the expression “constructive ambiguities” used by Abdel-Latif (2017, 2 (...)

8The IGC had its origins in a complex international context. In the decade that preceded its establishment, the relationship between intellectual property, biogenetic resources and traditional knowledge “was gaining momentum, following the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) and of the Agreement of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (1995)” (Abdel-Latif 2017, 11). At the same time, protection of folklore was gaining renewed interest with the adoption of the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) in 1996. These new developments in the international landscape called for attention to such subjects also inside WIPO.

9After the adoption of TRIPS by the WTO, WIPO wanted to “regain prominence in global intellectual property governance” (Abdel-Latif 2017, 18). WIPO was also facing some internal disputes at the time. A proposal related to biogenetic resources, made by developing countries, threatened the adoption of the Patent Law Treaty (PLT). In exchange for withdrawing their proposal and allowing for the adoption of the PLT, developing countries accepted developed countries’ proposal to create a body especially dedicated to discussing issues related to biogenetic resources inside WIPO (Abdel-Latif 2017). Thus, the IGC appears to be a consequence of the strong interest of developing countries to regulate access to biogenetic resources, which are often linked to traditional knowledges. Following the negotiations, the IGC was created in 2000 by the WIPO General Assembly (WIPO 2000) and its first session took place in 2001.

10Abdel-Latif highlights that while this “constructive ambiguity” was essential for the creation of the IGC “as a process”, it did not help the forum in reaching a relevant outcome in its negotiations (2017, 27). Initially, developing countries welcomed the proposal to deal with this subject at WIPO, because the forum was considered less politicized and more technical compared to the WTO (Abdel-Latif 2017). Soon after the IGC’s creation, however,

  • 3 Biopiracy is the patenting of indigenous knowledge related to biodiversity (Shiva 2007)

many developing countries started to realize they had brought their demands for measures to address “biopiracy”3 and the misappropriation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge by the patent system to a forum which was a staunch supporter of that system and derived most of its revenues from patent fees. (Abdel-Latif 2017, 24)

11Ambiguity has thus played an important role in the IGC’s creation but did not help in the advancement of negotiations. Although having continued its work for nearly twenty years, no agreement on a legal instrument has been reached so far. In the next section, I will take a closer look at how the IGC operates.

1.3 Participation at the IGC

12Various actors are involved in the IGC: member states’ delegates, indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ representatives, multilateral institutions, NGOs, enterprises’ representatives, as well as academic researchers. However, not all participants have the same status in the forum. While the State of Palestine and a series of NGOs and indigenous peoples’ organizations have a seat as observers, all member states that are part of WIPO have both a seat and the right to vote.

13The IGC is “a spatially localized but highly heterogeneous setting” (Bendix 2013, 27), because it involves a wide variety of actors, which may or may not be present in the sessions (Groth 2012). In fact, some actors that do not directly participate in the forum strongly influence it. “This includes national government agencies determining the position a delegation is going to take during negotiations as well as numerous civil society and industry organizations working in local and international contexts on the protection of GRTKF” (Groth 2012, 41). For the moment, however, I will focus on the participants that are physically present at the IGC sessions.

Indigenous peoples and local communities: “they cannot vote, but they stay near”4

  • 4 This is a reference to the explanation the NGO representative gave to me when I asked him why peopl (...)

14Both indigenous peoples and local communities are invited to have a seat in the IGC discussions, upon accreditation. The indigenous representative I interviewed did not perceive the accreditation process as a barrier to participation. She said it was enough to prove that your organization has a legitimate interest in the forum – and with her being an indigenous person, this was quite evident. However, gathering funds to attend the sessions in Geneva is a real problem, as is the lack of information. For her, information about the IGC and about intellectual property more broadly is “codified, hard, inaccessible and exclusionary”, which makes indigenous peoples’ participation more difficult.

15The majority of indigenous peoples’ representatives constitute the so-called “Indigenous Caucus”. The Indigenous Caucus is not a homogeneous group, since it unifies people from different backgrounds and who may have different views. Indigenous Caucus representatives vary from one IGC session to another. However, some attend almost every session. These people seem to have prominence in the debate, as they have a deeper knowledge of the intricate dynamics of international treaty negotiations. The only indigenous organization that attends the IGC but does not participate in the Indigenous Caucus is the organization Tupaj Amaru, which represents a voice not aligned with any of the other stakeholders taking part in the IGC.

16Nevertheless, it is rare to see participants that identify themselves as representatives of local communities in the forum. Furthermore, some geographical areas are better represented than others. While, for example, many representatives of indigenous peoples from the USA were present throughout IGCs 37 to 39, there were few representatives of African groups. During our interview, the WIPO staff member attributed this difference of participation to the difference in the level of organization of indigenous peoples in different geographical areas. Access to funding also varies significantly between areas. Moreover, the local meanings of indigeneity and their importance for respective communities may affect differences in geographical representation.

  • 5 “Informals” are sessions during the IGC that are not held in plenary and whose discussions are not (...)
  • 6 This argument was made by the indigenous representative during the interview.

17The Indigenous Caucus, although having the right to be heard during discussions, does not have a right to vote. As observers, its members are allowed to make propositions to the IGC (e.g. textual propositions for draft articles), but these will only be added to the records in the case that a member state supports them. As will be better explained in section 1.4, Indigenous Caucus members are also allowed to participate in informals5 and contact groups. Nevertheless, in comparison to the discussions around the CBD, for example, the level of participation allowed for indigenous people at the IGC is much lower.6

18Furthermore, the participation of indigenous groups has been made ever more difficult, since their funding depends on the goodwill of governments. The Indigenous Caucus often proposes that their financing be made independent of voluntary donations of missions and that it should be directly attached to the IGC’s budget. Despite having received verbal support from some member states and the WIPO Secretariat, this proposition has not advanced so far.

  • 7 WIPO staff member during interview.
  • 8 Idem

19In 2009, WIPO started the “Indigenous Fellowship Program”, through which a member of an indigenous group is selected every year to work in the Traditional Knowledge Division of WIPO for a certain period (Wendland 2017). The selection of the fellow is competitive, involving an online application, exams for shortlisted applicants and an oral interview. The presence of the indigenous fellow is perceived by WIPO as giving more legitimacy to its work.7 It also increases the interest of member states in indigenous communities that could potentially participate in the program.8

Member states

20Member states’ delegates represent the majority of IGC participants. States are treated in WIPO as entities “with distinct, clearly demarcated borders, territorial sovereignty, and sovereign equality, living under an imperative of nonintervention” (Perlman 2017, 186).

21As in other international organizations, member states form groups in accordance with their geographical location. In WIPO, the following groups are present: (i) Asia-Pacific Group; (ii) Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC); (iii) African Group; (iv) European Union (the European Union has a seat for itself); (v) Group of Central European and Baltic States (CEBC); and (vi) China (which constitutes a group of its own).

22In WIPO there are two more groups, which are connected not by geographical location, but by their shared characteristics and interests. In this category, we can locate Group B and the Like-Minded Countries (LMCs). Group B is composed of “industrialized” (Thiru 2011) or “developed” countries (Saez 2017; Carvalho 2017, 340), amongst which are the USA, Japan, New Zealand, the European Union and Australia (Groth 2012, 42). Other authors also include in the group Switzerland, Canada and Israel (Thiru 2011).

23The LMCs, on the other hand, have their origins in the “Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries”, created in February 2002 in Cancun, Mexico, in an assembly of the environment ministers and other delegates of the following countries: Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Venezuela (Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries 2002). This group was created “as a mechanism for consultation and cooperation to promote common interests and defend common priorities related to biological diversity”, especially concerning the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries 2010).

  • 9 In 2013, for example, a document of the LMCs group was issued and signed by the following countries (...)

24In its declaration, the group also expressed its “will to take active part in the discussion of issues related to biological diversity within the WTO and the WIPO” (Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries 2002). In 2009, the LMCs was created at WIPO (Abdel-Latif 2017). Since then, the group has gone through changes in its original composition9 but continues to be composed by members of the Asia-Pacific Group, GRULAC and African Group. At the moment when this work was written, the LMCs were coordinated by Indonesia (Saez 2017).

25Member states can also be divided between demandeurs, “including the Africa Group, the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries and much of the Asia Pacific Group” and non-demandeurs, such as the “USA, Japan, Canada and Korea” (Keating 2017, 265). In this sense, demandeurs are the ones that demanded the implementation of the IGC and emphasize the need to reach an agreement as soon as possible. Non-demandeurs are those countries that were not interested in the instauration of the Committee.

WIPO Secretariat

26At the IGC, the Secretariat is composed of employees of WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division, a part of the organization’s Department for Traditional Knowledge and Global Challenges (WIPO 2019c). The division has a facilitatory and administrative role for the committee (Wendland 2017). Its tasks include typical secretariat work (e.g. drafting the agenda, printing and distributing copies of relevant documents, booking rooms, drafting reports) as well as facilitating text-based negotiations, through the drafting of material, organizing inter-sessional preparations with the Chair and conducting extensive consultations with member states. It also provides capacity building and technical assistance upon the requirement of member states (Wendland 2017)

27The Secretariat also maintain databases and ensures the availability of content produced during the IGC on WIPO’s website. Discussions undertaken during plenaries, for example, are all made available via webcasting.10 In this sense, there is a level of transparency regarding what is discussed in plenaries. However, other formats of discussion undertaken during the sessions, such as informals, are not made available to the general public.


  • 11 Interview with the member of WIPO staff.

28The IGCs Chair and Vice-Chair are elected from among the representatives of member states that follow the IGC. IGCs 37 to 39 were chaired by Mr. Ian Goss, from Australia. Goss has been the Chair of the IGC since its 29th session, in February 2016 (Saez 2016). The Chair’s decisions are independent of WIPO’s Secretariat work, although the Secretariat does provide him with assistance throughout the sessions.11

NGOs, industry and researchers

29NGOs and industry representatives are allowed to participate if they are accredited members of WIPO. Researchers, on the other hand, normally participate in the forum through the mediation of an NGO. None of these actors has the right to vote.

1.4 The IGC’s proceedings

30The IGC’s proceedings have been described as being “clearly dominated by a Western, juridical habitus (not least because legal training and lawyerly performance in the Global South were also introduced during colonial occupation)” (Bendix 2018, 249). Legal practices, like any other human practice, “are subject to cultural shaping and dynamics” (Bendix 2013, 249). These are important considerations to better understand the IGC’s process.

31Although earlier IGCs may have lasted a few days longer (Wendland 2017), IGCs 37 to 39 took five business-days each. Each day of a session normally comprises a first meeting between 10h30 and 13h, and a second that convenes from 15h to 18h. The first day of the meetings starts with the delivery of a short opening statement by the Chair, who introduces the principles that will guide the session (e.g. a spirit of constructive debate; an aim to narrow existing gaps; observation of WIPO general rules of procedure).

  • 12 A more detailed account of these themes will be provided in the following section.

32The Chair’s statement is followed by opening statements from regional and interest groups, as well as an opening statement delivered by the Indigenous Caucus. In this first set of statements, groups assert the rationale that is guiding their participation in the session and normally indicate their position around controversial themes to the forum.12

  • 13 Such panels have been an integral part of the IGC program since 2005 (WIPO 2018b).
  • 14 In the IGCs 37 to 39, the following themes were discussed: differences and similarities in IP prote (...)

33The Agenda for the session is then presented and adopted. After that, the Panel of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities13 takes place: a moment where three indigenous peoples’ representatives present indigenous perspectives in themes that are relevant for the IGC.14 This is a very informative session and a unique opportunity to engage with the view of indigenous peoples and local communities but, unfortunately, member states’ representatives often leave the room at this point. Normally a side event is held on the second afternoon and can be related to any subject linked to the session.

  • 15 Namely Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

34The IGC plenary sessions are held in a large auditorium, with wooden details and globe-shaped lamps. The Chair and WIPO Secretariat’s representatives are seated in a long table at the front of the room. Around this table, member states’ representatives’ seats are displayed in a semi-hexagon and are organized in alphabetical order. The room is organized in levels: member states representatives are seated in those closer to the main table, while the levels further up are reserved for the observers. Simultaneous translation is guaranteed at any time in all UN official languages.15

Figure 3. WIPO Conference Hall.

Figure 3. WIPO Conference Hall.

Photograph by David Matthiessen

  • 16 In interview with a delegate from a developing country,

35Besides plenary sessions, an integral part of the IGC are the so-called informals: sessions that are not held in plenary and whose discussions are not put into the records. This is seen as an opportunity to have more frank conversations, as delegates know what is said there will neither be inserted into a report nor be available in webcasting.16 Informals are not undertaken in the WIPO Conference Hall, but in other rooms in WIPO’s headquarters. Only two members of each delegation and of the Indigenous Caucus are allowed to participate in these sessions. The discussions are broadcasted to the main room via audio.

  • 17 Member of WIPO’s staff in interview
  • 18 Idem.

36Recently, the Chair has also adopted the methodology of reserving time during the sessions for the so-called contact groups: groups of delegates that unite to discuss specific subjects (e.g. subject matter) and later present a report of this discussion in plenary. This type of methodology is not common in other forums.17 It is adopted here because the IGC is recognized as a very politicized forum, characterized by heated discussions and divergent positions.18 These methodologies are used in an effort to facilitate the achievement of an agreement.

37One should not, however, be tricked into thinking that IGC activities happen only during these periods. As the Chair highlighted in IGCs 38 and 39, informal interactions during coffee breaks and at any other opportunity are strongly encouraged and are seen as a good occasion for observers to convince member states to accept their proposals.

38Furthermore, many relevant meetings happen in between plenary sessions and informals, which are not part of the official agenda and are not open for all participants (e.g. group internal meetings, meetings between groups, meeting between groups and WIPO Secretariat). The weekend before the IGC, for example, the Indigenous Consultative Forum takes place: indigenous representatives meet to discuss the negotiations that will happen during the week. Also, groups normally meet during the week to consult before delivering a final position on specific issues being voted upon.

39Throughout the week, two revised versions of the draft articles are presented and discussed in plenary. These are prepared by facilitators, delegation members who are selected and work overnight to produce the draft articles based in the negotiations that happened in plenary and in informals. These revisions may sometimes represent an advancement in the attempt to find articles that represent compromises between different positions. However, this progress is often undermined by delegations who use procedural strategies to delay negotiations, as will be further discussed.

1.5 Main goals: not such a clear future for the IGC’s discussions

40Defining what the main goal or goals of the IGC are is not an easy task. The opposing interests represented at the forum and the complexity of discussions would not allow us to do this in one phrase. In its mandate, the IGC’s aim is described as

reaching an agreement on an international legal instrument(s), without prejudging the nature of the outcome(s), relating to intellectual property which will ensure the balanced and effective protection of genetic resources (GRs), traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). (WIPO 2018a)

41Whether this instrument will or will not be binding is a dispute that has been at the heart of the forum since day one (Wendland 2017). While developing countries want a legally binding instrument, industrialized countries are supportive of the IGC as a process that leads to nothing but “soft law”.

  • 19 For the first year since its creation, the IGC did not meet in 2015 (Wendland 2017).

42This issue, which had already detonated in IGC 27 and led to a halt in the process19 (Wendland 2017), was still vividly present throughout IGCs 37 to 39. While the Asian-Pacific Group, African Group and LMCs reaffirmed their commitment to reach binding instruments, the EU reaffirmed its opinion that the instruments should be non-binding.

43In itself, the IGC mandate for 2018-19 determines that the forum has the “objective of reaching an agreement on an international legal instrument(s), without prejudging the outcome(s)”. In other words, it is still open for discussion whether any instrument reached by the committee will or will not have a binding nature. The nature of the instrument, however, is not the only substantive issue that inspires controversial positions.

“Exceptional in its minimal progress”20

  • 20 The title for this section is inspired by an expression used by Bendix (2013, 28)

44In 2019, the IGC completed its eighteenth anniversary and although some things have changed in the organization and mandate of the Committee, many things remain the same. Both a large portion of the existing literature on the IGC (Abdel-Latif 2017; Bendix 2013; Carvalho 2017; Lankau, Bizer and Gubaydullina 2010; Groth 2012; Perlman 2017; Wendland 2017) and fieldwork data point to one main characteristic of the forum: the negotiations are lengthy and little progress is made.

  • 21 Indigenous representative, NGO representative and delegate of a developing country during interview (...)
  • 22 All interlocutors in the cadre of WIPO.

45Among the reasons for the forum’s minimal results are both economic factors and the high level of complexity of discussions (Lankau, Bizer and Gubaydullina 2010). Additionally, the lack of political will has also been mentioned by my interlocutors as one of the main causes of such a slow process.21 The IGC has been characterized by many of them as a highly politicized forum.22 Because not all member states want a binding treaty, some of them actively try to slow down the process. As the WIPO staff member explained during our interview, in his twenty years of experience in the organization, in no other forum has he seen such pronounced efforts to prevent progress in negotiations.

46In the IGC, “diplomatic speaking and processing ensure minimal progress and minimal results” (Bendix 2018, 237), but, while decision making is slow, “the dynamic behind this slowness is fierce” (Bendix 2013, 43).

Procedural strategies

47Procedural strategies are continuously deployed by some delegations with the objective of slowing down the process. In every session, some delegations (including the USA, Japan, Canada, South Korea and the EU) require that WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division proceed with the production of studies to inform the negotiations.

48It could be argued that some of these studies are relevant for the negotiations, because they provide deeper insight on the potential impacts of the creation of intellectual property rights over indigenous knowledge, as well as information about how national legislation worldwide deals with the issue. However, delegations frequently present requests for studies that have already been conducted. Thus, all my interlocutors have identified these requests as a deliberate strategy for slowing down negotiations. This issue has also been raised in plenary discussions by the African Group, Brazil, Indonesia, India, Egypt and Nigeria, among others.

49Another strategy used for delaying the process is the exaggerated use of brackets, which have the function of clarifying the lack of agreement on the bracketed terms, as well as the reinsertion of new alternatives to the editing of articles even after days of negotiation to reduce the number of alternatives. This practice has mainly been deployed by the US delegation. Oguamanam also emphasizes the use by the US of “a negotiation strategy that tends to fluster delegates by injecting draft texts with terms and phrases often less rigorously explored”, which ends up diverting “energy into definitional debates over terms in the texts in a manner that has proven inefficient, diversionary, obstructive and ultimately counterproductive” (2018, 28 and 29).

50These strategies end up hampering negotiations and reveal the clear lack of will of some delegations from industrialized countries to contribute to the process. Not surprisingly, these are the delegations that advocate for an eventual non-binding outcome of the IGC. They are also the countries that mostly apply for patents and whose industries most profit from biopiracy (Chang 2007).

Main changes at the IGC

51In the almost twenty years of negotiation in the IGC’s history, many things have changed. One central problem, however, has been present throughout these two decades: delegates are not able to reach an agreement about what traditional or indigenous means, or about what are the knowledges and cultural expressions that are the object of the negotiations. This poses persistent problems to advancing with negotiations.

  • 23 The IGC’s discussions have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and no sessions took place in 2020 (...)

52Among the relevant changes is the relative abandonment of the term folklore in the discussions, which was substituted by the terminology traditional cultural expressions. Maybe an even more relevant change is that the IGC has decided not to produce one single instrument but three different ones (Ido 2017, 100): one for genetic resources (“GR”), one for traditional knowledge (“TK”) and one for traditional cultural expressions (“TCE”). While the negotiations around the document on genetic resources were prioritized during the biennium 2016/2017, between 2018 and 2019 – when the fieldwork for this research took place – the text-based negotiations revolved around the two other topics: traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. In IGC 40, which took place in June 2019, a “Draft International Legal Instrument Relating to Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge Associated with Genetic Resources” prepared by IGC Chair Ian Goss was presented (WIPO 2019f).23

53Although my fieldwork at WIPO just covered the negotiations of texts regarding TKs and TCEs, one should not accept such clear-cut distinctions without further questioning. As members of the Indigenous Caucus pointed out in plenary discussions, it is hard to make a clear separation between what TK and TCEs are. In the same sense, this distinction becomes more complex as traditional knowledge related to a genetic resource may overlap with other knowledges or other cultural expressions. In the terms used by one indigenous representative, they are all part of a “knowledge system”. As such, separating them into different boxes might represent an oversimplification.

54Dividing and classifying these knowledges and manifestations, making diverse cosmovisions fit into legal definitions, chopping them out in eligibility criteria, defining boundaries between what is and what is not: the entire process has been described as painful by the delegate of Nigeria.

55The exercise is, indeed, hard. Making such diversity enter the walls of WIPO’s imposing building, “suiting up” and starting to use the highly technical and sometimes confusing language of intellectual property law is not a simple process. What changes? How can we bring manifestations happening throughout the world and make them fit in a single text, preliminarily drafted in English and later translated into the other five UN official languages? Is there any relationship between what is being discussed in the international realm and the content of the discussions and experiences in the local realm?

2. Vale do Ribeira

56To look for answers to these questions, my analysis will now move to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, entering the largest well-preserved area of Atlantic Rainforest. Vale do Ribeira is a region that covers twenty-three municipalities in the south of the State of São Paulo and nine in the northeast of the State of Paraná, in Brazil. Its total area of three million hectares houses nearly half a million inhabitants. Despite encompassing some of the poorest regions of both states, Vale do Ribeira is home to around 35% of the Brazilian vegetal species (Observatório dos Conflitos Rurais em São Paulo et al. 2017).

Figure 4. São Paulo portion of Vale do Ribeira

Figure 4. São Paulo portion of Vale do Ribeira

Movimiento Regional por la Tierra 2017, 2

57Among the regions’ inhabitants are indigenous peoples and other so-called traditional communities (Observatório dos Conflitos Rurais em São Paulo et al. 2017). More specifically, Vale is home to twenty-four Guarani indigenous communities, over sixty quilombola communities and over seven thousand family farms run by local peasant communities (caipiras), traditional fisherfolk communities (caiçaras) and migrants from Brazil’s largest cities (Sempreviva Organização Feminista 2018). This research has focused specifically on the communities that live in the part of Vale do Ribeira located in the State of São Paulo.

2.1 Vale do Ribeira: a territory in conflict

58Vale do Ribeira has long been the target of incursions aiming to explore its natural resources for economic growth. Land conflicts, caused by the overlap of traditional communities’ and state park areas, land grabbing, illegal logging and juçara palm tree extraction were intensified during the Brazilian military dictatorship and are still present today (Sempreviva Organização Feminista 2018).

  • 24 Vale do Ribeira continues to be strongly affected by mining activities and requirements for the ins (...)
  • 25 Such practices have received many incentives from the São Paulo State government. In 2002, the gove (...)

59The exploitation of Vale do Ribeira’s natural resources began in the sixteenth century with the construction of villages for the establishment of Portuguese settlers and with the subsequent establishment of gold mines, which made intensive use of slave labor (Berlanga 2017). Even though mining is no longer the main economic activity in the region, it continues to be practiced to date.24 Nowadays, Vale do Ribeira is a focal area for agribusiness enterprises, focusing on the production of rice, tea, coffee and especially banana monocultures, which makes intensive use of labor in precarious conditions (Saori 2018).25

60Despite the centuries-old exploitation of its natural resources, many parts of Vale do Ribeira remained free from for-profit economic activities and have only caught the attention of external stakeholders more recently. Around the 1960s, the area was affected by the construction of the Régis Bittencourt freeway (BR-116) and, around the same time, environmentalists started drawing attention to the region due to its high level of biodiversity preservation (Sempreviva Organização Feminista 2018).

61In 1969, as an initiative of the São Paulo government, the State Park Jacupiranga was created, to stop the expansion of infrastructure and agribusiness projects into the remaining portions of the Atlantic Forest (Sempreviva Organização Feminista 2018). Nevertheless, the project was guided by a conception of nature preservation without human activity, disregarding the relationship that Vale do Ribeira inhabitants had with their environment. The overlap of traditional communities’ territories and state park areas is significant, as the map reproduced below demonstrates, and has given birth to numerous conflicts.

Figure 5. Map of the distribution of traditional peoples in Jacupiranga Mosaic of Conservation Units (MOJAC)

Figure 5. Map of the distribution of traditional peoples in Jacupiranga Mosaic of Conservation Units (MOJAC)

Saori 2018, 18

Political organization

62Although the park relatively protected local traditional communities and the environment from further attempts of incorporation by agribusiness, its installation created other conflicts. Traditional practices, which guaranteed traditional communities’ livelihoods, started to be criminalized by the state. In response to this process, quilombolas and other traditional communities of the region organized and demanded their rights to continue their traditional practices in their territory.

63This organization became stronger when, in the 1980s, the government started to push for the construction of dams in the region. By the end of the 1980s, mobilizing a discourse on the necessity to meet the energy needs of the region and to contain floods, a concession was granted for the construction of one of these dams, the UHE Tijuco Alto. Quilombolas and other traditional communities of the region, with the help of NGOs, rural unions and progressive sectors of the Catholic Church, organized to form the Movement of People Threatened by Dams (Movimento dos Ameaçados por Barragens – MOAB). MOAB contested the state’s discourse, warning that the energy produced by this hydroelectric power plant would, in fact, be mainly destined to supply the energy needs of one specific enterprise, the Brazilian Aluminum Company (Berlanga 2017).

64This political articulation led to protests, meetings among different communities that inhabit the area and articulations between these communities (Movimiento Regional por la Tierra 2017). In 2016, this movement had an important victory: the construction of UHE Tijuco Alto was finally dismissed (Zanchetta 2016).

65As a legacy from the articulation that began in the process of fighting against UHE Tijuco Alto, in 1994 the first quilombola association of the region was created. With the aid of other organizations and professionals such as anthropologists and topographers, the Ivaporunduva quilombola community self-demarcated its land, producing a map that demonstrated their occupation of the territory. In the same year, this association filed a judicial claim against the Brazilian state, demanding the demarcation of their land, which would lead to the granting of a collective title to the community. Indeed, in 2008 a Federal Court determined that Ivaporunduva had the right to that territory and that it should be demarcated (Movimiento Regional por la Tierra 2017).

66The abovementioned articulation also led to the creation of the Articulation and Advisory Group for Black Communities of Vale do Ribeira (Equipe de Articulação e Assessoria às Comunidades Negras do Vale do Ribeira – EAACONE). EAACONE is a civil society organization created in 1995 and currently the main organization representing quilombola interests in the state of São Paulo. EAACONE’s board of directors is composed of eleven representatives from quilombola associations from Vale do Ribeira and the organization has close connections to progressive sectors of the Catholic Church as well as to MOAB (Oliveira 2009).

  • 26 In Sustainable Development Reserves (RDS in the Portuguese acronym), traditional practices can be c (...)

67After years of struggle against the park, in 2008 the recognition of quilombola’s right to their traditional territory led to changes in the configurations of the conservation area. The State Park Jacupiranga was turned into the Jacupiranga Mosaic, a protected mosaic area of fourteen conservation units, amongst which there are areas of State Park, Sustainable Development Reserves26 and Environmental Protection Areas (Observatório dos Conflitos Rurais em São Paulo et al. 2017).

68The change in the type of conservation unit did not, however, end the conflicts in traditional territories. Since 2016, agrarian and environmental conflicts in Vale do Ribeira encountered a new phase, due to the approval of legislation that “facilitates the privatization of the management of natural parks and promotion of financialization mechanisms, such as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Initiative (Economia dos Ecossistemas e da Diversidade – Projeto TEEB)” (Sempreviva Organização Feminista 2018). TEEB is a project in line with international mechanisms for the financialization of nature, promoting the insertion of areas covered by the Jacupiranga Mosaic in the global carbon market. Furthermore, since the beginning of the 2000s, quilombola and caiçara communities have faced cases of misappropriation of their knowledge and discovered efforts of bioprospecting in the region. These issues will be discussed in further detail in Chapter V, Section 1.

69While these new conflicts appear, new forms of resistance are also emerging. In mid-2017, the Traditional Communities Forum was created. This is a space for different traditional communities whose territories overlap with the Mosaic to unite and discuss problems and strategies of action.

70In the following paragraphs, I will present in further detail two groups of traditional communities that inhabit Vale do Ribeira: quilombolas and caiçaras. The largest part of my fieldwork in the region was conducted amongst quilombolas. I have stayed in two quilombola communities: Quilombo Ribeirão Grande, in the municipality of Barra do Turvo, and Quilombo Ivaporunduva, in the municipality of Eldorado, where I helped with the CONAQ meeting. Subsequently, I spent a couple of days with caiçaras in Barra do Ribeira.

71As both groups have experienced issues related to knowledge misappropriation, bioprospecting and/or discussions around traditional knowledge and its protection, the next section will offer a deeper insight into their stories and specificities.

2.2 Quilombola communities in Vale do Ribeira

72As mentioned earlier, Vale do Ribeira was highly affected by the exploitation of gold in the sixteenth century, which made intensive use of slave labor (Stucchi 1996). After the abolition of slavery in Brazil, the formerly enslaved people remained in the land that had been abandoned by miners and devalued by the fall of mineral extraction activity (Queiroz 2006, 43). These African descendants established new communities, called quilombos, in the middle of the Atlantic Forest and reorganized around agricultural subsistence production.

  • 27 While the colonial legislation classified as quilombolas any grouping of five or more runaway slave (...)

73The term quilombo had been used in the colonial and imperial legislation in a vague way to encompass any grouping of runaway slaves27 (Almeida 2002). The choice for a vague description was made with the objective to repress the largest number of situations possible (Arruti 2008, 4). After the abolition of slavery, the term was not forgotten but received a new meaning, being transformed into a symbol of both cultural and political resistance (Arruti 2008).

74In the 1980s, with the re-democratization of the country after twenty years of military dictatorship, the Brazilian civil society faced a moment of strong re-articulation and the country witnessed the emergence of a series of new actors in the public sphere. The Unified Black Movement (Movimento Negro Unificado – MNU) gained strength nationally and, among other topics, started the debate on the “quilombola issue”. In the same decade, black rural communities of the states of Pará and Maranhão strengthened their political organization and participation in the black movement, emphasizing discussions around territorial issues (Jorge 2015). In 1986 the first meeting of the Black Rural Communities of the State of Maranhão took place, having in mind the preparation for discussions around the drafting of a new Federal Constitution, which was to be promulgated in 1988 (Arruti 2008).

75The recognition of quilombola communities in the 1988 Brazilian Federal Constitution is therefore deeply linked to the mobilization of black rural communities and the black movement (Almeida 1989). They sought on the one hand to affirm the existence of black resistance to the system of slavery and, on the other, to achieve reparation for historical injustices through the guarantee of access to land and the recognition of their collective ways of using the territory (Arruti 2008).

76Currently, the category quilombos is used to denominate specific and contemporary social situations, characterized mainly by politico-organizational instruments, whose main objective is to guarantee access to land and control of their territory, as well as the affirmation of a common identity (Almeida 1996 apud Arruti 2008, 18).

77One cannot, therefore, talk about an essential quilombola identity, but rather of a collective identity built around specific strategies of common use of the territory and a specific organization of daily practices of production and reproduction. In the case of Vale do Ribeira quilombola communities, these are informed by relations of kinship and solidarity (Stucchi 1996). This does not mean that there are no conflicts among members of the communities but rather indicates that the fundamental organizational principles of social life in Vale do Ribeira quilombola communities are solidarity and kinship (Stucchi 1996, 15).

  • 28 Francisco, during interview.

78An important example of these solidarity linkages are the so-called mutirões or puxirões. These are situations when quilombolas from the same quilombo or neighboring quilombos gather to help another quilombola to do a specific activity: harvest an area, plant, build a house, or move a canoe, among other activities (Mello e Souza 1964 apud Stucchi 1996, 20). As some of my interlocutors affirmed, this moment is normally followed by a celebration: “one invites his friends for lunch, but before eating all do at least half a day of work in the field”.28 While telling me about the last puxirão he convoked, Francisco, from quilombo Pedro Cubas said: “I’ve gathered seventy, eighty friends, we all went to harvest rice. You hunt an animal, cook a nice lunch for everyone. There everybody drinks and eats lunch. When the time for work is finished, everyone showers, comes back to dinner, and then we throw a nice party. The party supports the day of work of our friends”.

79Quilombola communities are usually organized around subsistence agricultural production and there is little or no accumulation of capital in their practices of production. It is a mode of production anchored in a strong relation with nature and around kinship (Jorge and Brandão 2012). In other words, the family is not only a social unit but also a unit of production, and productive practices rely on a long-standing knowledge of regional natural cycles. This form of organization is deeply linked to a specific relation with the territory, as knowledge of productive practices is place-specific.

80The construction of the quilombola identity in Vale do Ribeira is deeply linked to a political process of struggle for permanence in this territory (Jorge 2015; Stucchi 1996). The quilombola identity was built when the communities were confronted with external initiatives of incursion into their territory, through the construction of the park and the projects for the hydroelectric power plants. Threats to their autonomy and ways of living pressured the communities to recognize themselves and seek their recognition as a differentiated group linked by ethnic belonging (Stucchi 1996, 16).

  • 29 A short movie about Vale do Ribeira’s Quilombola Agricultural System, produced by ISA, is available (...)

81After a long campaign with the help of a partner NGO (ISA), in 2018 Vale do Ribeira quilombolas communities had their planting and harvesting practices recognized as Brazilian cultural heritage (IPHAN 2018). The shared practices of nineteen quilombola communities of the region form what is now called “Vale do Ribeira’s Quilombolas Agricultural System”.29

82Quilombolas’ practices of occupation of the territory, their collective use of land and their close relation to natural resources, go against the use of the territory advocated by the State and other political forces in Vale do Ribeira, as demonstrated in the section above. This sets the stage for several efforts of incursion into quilombola territory.

83According to my interlocutors, these efforts have been intensifying in recent years. Several of them reported the entrance of unknown cars into their areas, with people that carried technical equipment for evaluating the presence of minerals in the soil. There is an overall apprehensiveness due to the anti-indigenous and anti–traditional communities discourse that is deployed by Brazil’s present government. In 2017, before the presidential campaign, the current president not only made racist declarations about quilombolas, but also emphasized that their lands overlap areas extremely rich in natural resources (Bresciani 2018).

84In the map below, it is possible to see the distribution of quilombola communities in Vale do Ribeira.

Figure 6. Vale do Ribeira’s Conservation Units and Quilombos

Figure 6. Vale do Ribeira’s Conservation Units and Quilombos
  • 30 Recognized quilombola land is marked in red, while quilombola land not yet recognized is signaled b (...)

Santos and Tatto 2008, 9 30

2.3 Caiçara communities

85Caiçaras are a traditional community that inhabits the coast of the states of São Paulo, Paraná and Rio de Janeiro (Diegues 2008, 18) in an area of strong preservation of the Atlantic Forest and its biodiversity (Sanches 2016). The literature usually links the historical formation of caiçara communities to the context of the occupation of the Brazilian’s South and Southeast coast during the colonial period and its economic cycles. Formed by the miscegenation of the indigenous, Portuguese and black population (Diegues 2008, 142), the caiçaras occupied a peripheral politico-economic position during the sugar-cane cycle (sixteenth century). Their geographical occupation was limited to small areas of land, which influenced the way they interact with the environment and how they use natural resources (Adams 2002).

86Until the twentieth century, periods of economic prosperity and strong agricultural production in the region alternated with periods of economic stagnation, in which caiçaras turned back to their traditional practices of subsistence agriculture and artisanal fishing (Adams 2000; Sanches 2016).

87From the 1950s onwards, these coastal regions started receiving the attention of the urban-industrial society and tourists from larger cities started to buy land and houses in the regions occupied by caiçaras. As their “communal land” was normally not registered (Sanches 2016), many caiçaras were relocated (Adams 2002). Furthermore, the creation of conservation units changed their occupation of the territory and started to limit their traditional practices (Diegues 2008; Sanches 2016).

88The claims related to a caiçara identity derive from what Diegues has called a constructed identity (2008, 90), which is partially a result of these conflictual processes of contact with the urban-industrial society. As Fernanda, a caiçara leader explained: “to be a caiçara is to be resistance, to embrace an identity that carries a story, that carries a lot of struggle”. She continued:

  • 31 A reference to the presidential Decree 6040, issued in 2007. The decree instituted the National Pol (...)

Today this is my understanding, but some years ago I had another understanding. I grew up being called a caiçara but in a pejorative sense. People called me caiçara because I lived on the beach, I had a simpler life. So, people thought that who was here was inferior (…) There was this entire process to deconstruct this pejorative sense until we assumed this identity. Just like the quilombolas, the indigenous, they have also assumed a political identity. So, for me today, to be a caiçara is to carry a political identity. A political identity that we have to reinforce every day, and that brings us closer to many groups of communities that have a way of living which is very similar to ours, so we came to understand that there are people at Rio de Janeiro and Paraná that live in a way very close to ours, that also recognize as caiçaras (…) Many still do not have this level of consciousness, that it is a political identity, but are making a movement for this political identity. Because we just started to be recognized as a segment of traditional communities with the Decree 6040 (Brazil 2007).31 But there are studies since the thirties, that research our culture, our way of living, so there is a lot of history.

Figure 7. Map of the communities at Juréia, where Barra do Ribeira is located.

Figure 7. Map of the communities at Juréia, where Barra do Ribeira is located.

Map extracted from (Sanches 2004, 37)

89Unlike quilombolas, the caiçaras are not mentioned in the Brazilian Federal Constitution. Nevertheless, they have been recognized at the regional level through their participation in the Ecological Stations’ Council, for example, and in the production of its Management Plan (P. Cunha 2009). Furthermore, at the national level, they have been recognized by Decree 6040 of 2007, which instituted the National Policy for Traditional Peoples and Communities (Brazil 2007). Also, in Decree 8750/2016, which instituted the National Council for Traditional Peoples and Communities (Brazil 2016), caiçaras are directly mentioned as one of the segments that should be represented in the council.

  • 32 Denis during interview.

90In 2014, fandango, a traditional caiçara celebration and musical style, to which a traditional dance corresponds, was recognized as Brazilian intangible cultural heritage. “The festivities are very linked to the daily practices”, “you do a fandango to celebrate the harvest, to celebrate that a house was built, that you took a canoe out of the sea, one cannot just do it out of nothing”.32 This recognition was celebrated by the communities as a way to help guarantee the continuation and protection of this cultural expression (Educativa 2014).

3. Discussion

91In this chapter, by looking at the actors and processes at play both at WIPO and at Vale do Ribeira, I have presented the elements needed to understand the context in which the negotiation of meaning around concepts of traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights appears in my fieldwork. These elements are key for us to better understand this process of negotiation of meaning, as they demonstrate how indigeneity is being articulated in both spheres.

92Through the presentation of the process of the constitution of the IGC, we can see that the forum emerged in WIPO as the outcome of a bargain between developing and industrialized countries. The latter accepted to create a forum of discussion related to biogenetic resources in exchange for the adoption of the Patent Law Treaty (Abdel-Latif 2017). The discussions in the forum have since then been sustained by developing countries. Its protagonists have been the LMCs and Asian Group, both currently having Indonesia as their leader, as well as the African Group.

93If we go back to the discussion on indigeneity, this configuration becomes even more interesting. As already discussed, the articulation of the concept of indigeneity allowed for important alliances between indigenous and local peoples at the international level. It made it possible for indigenous groups to seek remedy against violations happening at the local level, often inferred by national states (Hodgson 2011; Bellier 2013; Pelican 2009). Developing countries are not exempt from these violations. In fact, there are many cases in which developing countries violated the rights of indigenous and local peoples located in their territory. Some examples are the cases of Brazil (Almeida 2004; M.C. da Cunha 2009), Indonesia (Li 2000, 1996, 2001; Tsing 2011), Tanzania (Hodgson 2011) and Cameroon (Pelican 2009), but this list is far from exhaustive.

94It is awkward to see that, although often not guaranteeing their rights at the national level, developing countries articulate (in the sense of enunciating) (Hall 1996; Li 2000) a discourse for the protection of indigenous peoples’ knowledge at the international level in WIPO. The IGC emerged with the aim of discussing the protection of indigenous knowledges associated with genetic resources, to avoid and remediate biopiracy (Abdel-Latif 2017, 24). In this forum, developing countries are articulating the concept of indigeneity to be able to discuss processes of dispossession of genetic resources made possible through the granting of patent rights to certain companies. This articulation of the idea of indigeneity by developing countries in the context of the IGC is a key element for this analysis and we will get back to it in Chapter V.

95Being at the center of the creation of the forum, the idea of indigeneity is also what serves as the basis for the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities at the IGC. However, this participation suffers from two important limitations: not only is it difficult for indigenous peoples to be present at the forum, due to lack of funding and difficulty to access information, but also their rights in the deliberation are limited, because they cannot vote.

96On the other hand, this chapter has also laid out the process through which indigeneity is articulated at Vale do Ribeira. In a region marked by land grabbing and land conflicts, intensified by the implementation of conservation units and the project of implementing a hydroelectric power plant, it is in response to these processes of dispossession that Vale do Ribeira communities started to organize around issues of identity. Quilombolas and caiçaras organize to fight for permanence in their territory through articulation around their identity.

  • 33 As mentioned in the presentation of my interlocutors, a quilombola from Ivaporunduva has participat (...)

97They articulate this identity not only in the sense of enunciating it, but also articulate politically around their common identity. The different quilombola communities of Vale do Ribeira made alliances between themselves and organized regionally through EAACONE, as well as nationally through CONAQ. At the same time, different traditional communities of the region organize themselves at the Traditional Communities Forum and also participate at national (e.g. National Council for Traditional Peoples and Communities) and international33 fora through the articulation of these identities.

98This process of self-recognizing identity is also central to characterizing a set of knowledges as traditional (quilombola or caiçara knowledge). In this sense, relevant examples are the fights for the recognition of the Vale do Ribeira quilombola agricultural system as well as of fandango as integral parts of quilombola and caiçara knowledge systems and cultural manifestations. The communities see the recognition of these as intangible heritage as a tool for the preservation of their practices and justification of their permanence in the territory.

99Now with a clearer idea of the people and the places that form the process I am analyzing, in the next chapter, I will provide a more detailed analysis of how the ideas of traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights over traditional knowledge are being conceptualized in these sites.


1 E.g. the International Patent System, the International Trademark System and the International Industrial Design System.

2 This title is a reference to the expression “constructive ambiguities” used by Abdel-Latif (2017, 27) to describe the negotiations and tensions that led to the creation of the IGC.

3 Biopiracy is the patenting of indigenous knowledge related to biodiversity (Shiva 2007)

4 This is a reference to the explanation the NGO representative gave to me when I asked him why people continue participating in the forum even if they do not have the right to vote.

5 “Informals” are sessions during the IGC that are not held in plenary and whose discussions are not put into the records. They are further explained on page 43.

6 This argument was made by the indigenous representative during the interview.

7 WIPO staff member during interview.

8 Idem

9 In 2013, for example, a document of the LMCs group was issued and signed by the following countries: Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand and Zimbabwe (WIPO 2011). In an interview with a delegate of a developing country, it was confirmed that Brazil continues to constitute the group, while Mexico has left the LMCs.

10 To watch plenary sessions of IGC 39, for example, see

11 Interview with the member of WIPO staff.

12 A more detailed account of these themes will be provided in the following section.

13 Such panels have been an integral part of the IGC program since 2005 (WIPO 2018b).

14 In the IGCs 37 to 39, the following themes were discussed: differences and similarities in IP protection for TK and TCE; gaps in IP protection of TK and TCE and draft articles on IP protection of TK and TCE.

15 Namely Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

16 In interview with a delegate from a developing country,

17 Member of WIPO’s staff in interview

18 Idem.

19 For the first year since its creation, the IGC did not meet in 2015 (Wendland 2017).

20 The title for this section is inspired by an expression used by Bendix (2013, 28)

21 Indigenous representative, NGO representative and delegate of a developing country during interviews.

22 All interlocutors in the cadre of WIPO.

23 The IGC’s discussions have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and no sessions took place in 2020.

24 Vale do Ribeira continues to be strongly affected by mining activities and requirements for the installation of new mines are increasing. In 2012 alone, with the editing of new legislation incentivizing mineral exploitation in Brazil, 113 requests related to the licensing of mining activities in Vale do Ribeira were filed (Tomazela 2013). In 2016, 442 authorizations for research on the mining potential of the region and 112 licenses for the extraction of minerals were granted. Some traditional communities’ territories are especially targeted by this type of exploitation: three quilombola communities have between 92 and 96% of their territories included in projects for mineral exploitation (Berlanga 2017).

25 Such practices have received many incentives from the São Paulo State government. In 2002, the government created the “Regional Centre for Vale do Ribeira Agribusiness Production”, with the objective of stimulating agriculture and fishery in the region (Resende 2002).

26 In Sustainable Development Reserves (RDS in the Portuguese acronym), traditional practices can be conducted, but are still subject to the control of the administration of the park.

27 While the colonial legislation classified as quilombolas any grouping of five or more runaway slaves, during the imperial period some regional regulations would even define groupings of two runaway slaves as quilombos (Almeida 2002).

28 Francisco, during interview.

29 A short movie about Vale do Ribeira’s Quilombola Agricultural System, produced by ISA, is available on YouTube (ISA 2016).

30 Recognized quilombola land is marked in red, while quilombola land not yet recognized is signaled by red triangles.

31 A reference to the presidential Decree 6040, issued in 2007. The decree instituted the National Policy for the Sustainable Development of Traditional Peoples and Communities.

32 Denis during interview.

33 As mentioned in the presentation of my interlocutors, a quilombola from Ivaporunduva has participated in the negotiations for the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. WIPO Headquarters in Geneva.
Crédits Photograph by David Matthiessen.
Fichier image/jpeg, 374k
Titre Figure 2. External view of WIPO’s Conference Room.
Crédits Photograph by David Matthiessen
Fichier image/jpeg, 191k
Titre Figure 3. WIPO Conference Hall.
Crédits Photograph by David Matthiessen
Fichier image/jpeg, 189k
Titre Figure 4. São Paulo portion of Vale do Ribeira
Crédits Movimiento Regional por la Tierra 2017, 2
Fichier image/jpeg, 51k
Titre Figure 5. Map of the distribution of traditional peoples in Jacupiranga Mosaic of Conservation Units (MOJAC)
Crédits Saori 2018, 18
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k
Titre Figure 6. Vale do Ribeira’s Conservation Units and Quilombos
Crédits Santos and Tatto 2008, 9 30
Fichier image/png, 911k
Titre Figure 7. Map of the communities at Juréia, where Barra do Ribeira is located.
Crédits Map extracted from (Sanches 2004, 37)
Fichier image/png, 435k


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