Mataatua Declaration on
Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights
Commission on Human Rights
Sub-Commission of Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
Working Group on Indigenous Populations
19-30 July 1993
First International Conference on
Cultural & Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous
Whakatana, 12-18 June 1993
Aotearoa, New Zealand
The Mataatua Declaration on
Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous
In recognition that 1993 is the United Nations
International Year for the World's Indigenous Peoples;
The Nine Tribes of
Mataatua in the Bay of Plenty Region of
Aotearoa New Zealand convened the First International Conference on
the Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
(12-18 June 1993, Whakatane).
Over 150 delegates from fourteen countries
attended, including indigenous representatives from Ainu (Japan),
Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, India, Panama, Peru, Philippines,
Surinam, USA, and Aotearoa.
The Conference met over six days to consider a
range of significant issues, including; the value of indigenous
knowledge, biodiversity and biotechnology, customary environmental
management, arts, music, language and other physical and spiritual
cultural forms. On the final day, the following Declaration was
passed by the Plenary.
Recognising that 1993 is the United
Nations International Year for the World's Indigenous Peoples;
Reaffirming the undertaking of
United Nations Member States to-
"Adopt or strengthen appropriate policies and/or legal instruments
that will protect indigenous intellectual and cultural property and
the right to preserve customary and administrative systems and
practices." - United Nations Conference on Environmental Development;
UNCED Agenda 21 (26.4b);
Noting the Working principles that
emerged from the United Nations Technical Conference on Indigenous
Peoples and the Environment in Santiago. Chile from 18 - 22 May 1992
Endorsing the recommendations on
Culture and Science from the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples
on Territory, Environment and Development Kari-Oca, Brazil, 25 - 30
Declare that Indigenous Peoples of
the world have the right to self determination and in exercising that
right must be recognised as the exclusive owners Of their cultural
and intellectual property
Acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples
have a commonality of experiences relating to the exploitation of
their cultural and intellectual property'
Affirm that the knowledge of the
Indigenous Peoples of the world is of benefit to ail humanity;
Recognise that Indigenous Peoples
are capable of managing their traditional knowledge themselves, but
are willing to offer it to all humanity provided their fundamental
rights to define and control this knowledge are protected by the
Insist that the first beneficiaries
of indigenous knowledge (cultural and intellectual property rights)
must be the direct indigenous descendants of such knowledge;
Declare that all forms of
discrimination and exploitation of indigenous peoples, indigenous
knowledge and indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights
1. RECOMMENDATIONS TO INDIGENOUS
In the development of policies and practices, indigenous
1.1 Define for themselves their own
intellectual and cultural property.
1.2 Note that existing protection
mechanisms are insufficient for the protection of Indigenous Peoples
Intellectual and Cultural Property Rights.
1.3 Develop a code of ethics which
external users must observe when recording (visual, audio, written)
their traditional and customary knowledge.
1.4 Prioritise the establishment of
indigenous education, research and training centres to promote their
knowledge of customary environmental and cultural practices.
1.5 Reacquire traditional indigenous
lands for the purpose of promoting customary agricultural production.
1.6 Develop and maintain their
traditional practices and sanctions for the protection, preservation
and revitalization of their traditional intellectual and cultural
1.7 Assess existing legislation with
respect to the protection of antiquities.
1.8 Establish an appropriate body
with appropriate mechanisms to:
a) preserve and monitor the commercialism or otherwise
of indigenous cultural properties in the public domain
b) generally advise and encourage indigenous peoples to take steps
protect their cultural heritage
c) allow a mandatory consultative process with respect to any new
legislation affecting indigenous peoples cultural and intellectual
1.9 Establish international
indigenous information centres and networks.
1.10 Convene a Second International
Conference (Hui) on the Cultural and intellectual Property Rights of
Indigenous Peoples to be hosted by the Coordinating Body for the
Indigenous Peoples Organisations of the Amazon Basin (COICA).
2. RECOMMENDATIONS TO STATES, NATIONAL AND
In the development of policies and practices, States, National
and International Agencies must
2.1 Recognise that indigenous peoples
are the guardians of their customary knowledge and have the right to
protect and control dissemination of that knowledge.
2.2 Recognise that indigenous
peoples also have the right to create new knowledge based on cultural
2.3 Note that existing protection
mechanisms are insufficient for the protection of Indigenous Peoples
Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights.
2.4 Accept that the cultural and
intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples are vested with
those who created them.
2.5 Develop in full co-operation
with indigenous peoples an additional cultural and intellectual
property rights regime incorporating the following:
- collective (as well as individual) ownership and origin
- retroactive coverage of historical as well as contemporary
- protection against debasement of culturally significant items
- cooperative rather than competitive framework
- first beneficiaries to be the direct descendants of the
traditional guardians of that knowledge
- multi-generational coverage span
BIODIVERSITY AND CUSTOMARY ENVIRONMENTAL
2.6 Indigenous flora and fauna is
inextricably bound to the territories of indigenous communities and
any property right claims must recognise their traditional
2.7 Commercialization of any
traditional plants and medicines of Indigenous Peoples, must be
managed by the indigenous peoples who have inherited such knowledge.
2.8 A moratorium on any further
commercialisation of indigenous medicinal plants and human genetic
materials must be declared until indigenous communities have
developed appropriate protection mechanisms.
2.9 Companies, institutions both
governmental and private must not undertake experiments or
commercialisation of any biogenetic resources without the consent of
the appropriate indigenous peoples.
2.10 Prioritise settlement of any
outstanding land and natural resources claims of indigenous peoples
for the purpose of promoting customary, agricultural and marine
2.11 Ensure current scientific
environmental research is strengthened by increasing the involvement
of indigenous communities and of customary environmental knowledge.
2.12 All human remains and burial
objects of indigenous peoples held by museums and other institutions
must be returned to their traditional areas in a culturally
2.13 Museums and other institutions
must provide, to the country and indigenous peoples concerned, an
inventory of any indigenous cultural objects still held in their
2.14 Indigenous cultural objects held
in museums and other institutions must be offered back to their
3. RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE UNITED
In respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, the United
3.1 Ensure the process of
participation of indigenous peoples in United Nations fora is
strengthened so their views are fairly represented.
3.2 Incorporate the Mataatua
Declaration in its entirety in the United Nations Study on Cultural
and Intellectual Property of Indigenous Peoples.
3.3 Monitor and take action against
any States whose persistent policies and activities damage the
cultural and intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples.
3.4 Ensure that indigenous peoples
actively contribute to the way in which indigenous cultures are
incorporated into the 1995 United Nations International Year of
3.5 Call for an immediate halt to the
ongoing 'Human Genome Diversity Project' (HUGO) until its moral,
ethical, socio-economic, physical and political implications have
been thoroughly discussed, understood and approved by indigenous
4.1 The United Nations, International
and National Agencies and States must provide additional funding to
indigenous communities in order to implement these recommendations.