July 13, Colombo: Sri Lanka today announced that it is moving the centuries old folk medicines system for protection under Geneva's well-known "Traditional Knowledge" regime.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen revealed that Sri Lanka is working with Geneva's World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in the last five years to introduce intellectual property support to the country's traditional, indigenous medicine system
The Minister was addressing the inauguration of National Chamber of Commerce's Ayurveda Expo 2018 at BMICH on Friday (13). Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and Minister of Social Welfare and Primary Industries Daya Gamage also joined Minister Bathiudeen.
Speaking at the event, the Minister noted that Sri Lanka's own indigenous medical practice is centuries old, and co-exists with the country's Ayurveda practice.
"Ayurveda practice is a long-standing tradition in Sri Lanka existing with our indigenous medicine system. Similar to our local medicine system it supports our wellness and medical tourism development as well," said Minister Bathiudeen.
He added that there has also been experience sharing between Ayurveda and the local medicine systems.
"When we say Ayurveda in Sri Lanka it sometimes includes the practice of our own, other indigenous traditional medicines as well. And it is a priority that we safeguard our local heritage. A force that protects our heritage is the intellectual property system of Sri Lanka. Realizing this our intellectual property system is being expanded to meet modern needs as well," he said.
According to the Minister, the long awaited amendments to Intellectual Property Act on Geographic Indicators (GI) and copyright for artists have also been finalized by his Ministry and ready for approval.
"We are expanding our intellectual property system to protect our traditional medicine system as well. For example our historic local medicine system which is part of our Ayurveda can be placed under global traditional knowledge support."
The Minister said Sri Lanka has started working to introduce global traditional knowledge protection support for local medicine system, other than Ayurveda and western medicine practiced in the country and the effort will protect the valuable indigenous medicine practiced in Sri Lanka across many other countries and competitors. It also ensures the government's continued efforts to develop wellness tourism goals of Sri Lanka, he added.