First, ever since decolonisation, Asian governments have viewed t

First, ever since decolonisation, Asian governments have viewed the check details customary laws of their populations with mixed feelings (Antons 2003). They symbolise a link to ancient traditions

and are important symbols for national identity, but they are also suspect because of their potential to harbour pre-modern, sectarian and even secessionist tendencies. The constitutional provisions quoted above clearly show that in most cases, the rules of customary law are subordinated and made subject to the overriding imperatives of national development policies (Antons 2009b, p. 50). Secondly, it has been pointed out that colonisation, state building and globalisation have affected customary “traditions” in many parts of the world to such an extent that they have to be rebuilt and become discursive weapons in negotiation processes rather than statements about the regularity of past practices (Chanock 2009; Zerner 1994). Chanock (2005) sees some prospects for combining what he calls “new custom” and contracts, but fears that radically Anlotinib cost divergent interests of resource users will make such compromises difficult. Traditional knowledge and access to biodiversity: The example of Indonesia Indonesia provides an example find more of how many of these complex issues play out at the national level. The Indonesian government has recently been

involved in various disputes with Malaysia over cultural heritage and traditional cultural expressions in the form of songs,

next handicrafts and dances (Antons 2009c; Gelling 2009). Traditional knowledge related to biodiversity, agriculture and traditional medicine has equally been the subject of cross-border disputes and “biopiracy” claims. Widely reported in the media (Antons and Antons-Sutanto 2009, pp. 382–383) were the patenting of Eurycoma longifolia, widely used in traditional medicine and known in Malaysia as Tongkat Ali and in Indonesia as Pasak Bumi (GRAIN and Kalpavriksh 2006); aborted attempts by a Japanese cosmetics manufacturer to patent compounds of traditional Indonesian medicinal plants (GRAIN 2008); the prosecution of a farmer from East Java under Law No. 12 of 1992 on Plant Cultivation Systems for selling non-certified seeds to neighbours (Jhamtani and Patria 2006); and longstanding claims about the patenting in the US of a traditional Indonesian formula for making a special type of soya bean cake (tempe) (Sardjono 2006, pp. 204–205). As in many other Asian developing countries, the role of the national government of Indonesia in the conservation and exploitation of natural resources remains strong. This strong position is enshrined in Article 33(3) of the Constitution, which provides that “the land, the waters and the natural resources within are controlled by the State and shall be used for the greatest possible welfare of the people.” It comes further to expression in two laws enacted by the Suharto government during the 1990s, Law No.

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