Models for a Competent Authority – Facilitating Self-Determination

Wednesday, 3 July 2019
Michael Davis
Evana Wright

This session will report on the outcomes of the ARC Linkage funded project, Garuwanga: Forming a Competent Authority to Protect Indigenous Knowledge, and the project forum to be held in June 2019. The Garuwanga Project is based on the Nagoya Protocol, which came into force on 12 October 2014, and has already been ratified by 113 UN member states and the European Union. Implementation of the Protocol requires the establishment of national focal points and competent national authorities (which may be one in the same). Such authorities, if created as non-government organisations and/or if governed by representatives of the communities they are intended to protect, could assist Indigenous communities to achieve self-determination in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

During the session the panellists will: 

  • provide an analysis of the forms of competent authorities already established by other nations to protect Indigenous knowledge; 
  • expand upon the Indigenous governance principles developed to evaluate Australian-based organisations that could provide potential models for such a competent authority;
  • report on the legal and governance structures utilised by Indigenous communities in Australia to protect their knowledge and culture; 
  • consider the outcomes of the Garuwanga Project 'on country' consultations; and
  • describe the Project Report's proposed model for a competent authority to operate in Australia.