Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Strengthening Capacity to Manage Ecosystems Sustainably for Human Well-Being

Intellectual Property Rights Policy

MA policies and activities related to IPR are designed to help ensure that information concerning ecosystems and their links to human well-being is freely available. Notwithstanding the intent of this free flow of information, the MA will attempt to develop mechanisms and processes to ensure that the benefits from the application of local/traditional/indigenous knowledge in sub-global and global assessments can be obtained without compromising the rights of the holders of that knowledge. Given the challenges of designing effective IPR policies in the face of rapid change in information technologies and IPR practices, the MA will involve legal experts in an analysis of the implications of MA policies, with a view to obtaining recommendations on how to ensure the achievement of MA objectives.

The IPR principles and policies of the MA Sub-Global Working Group are as follows:

  • Sub-global assessments should follow IPR practices consistent with international standards (including Article 8(j) and Access & Benefit Sharing standards of the Convention on Biological Diversity), and national and regional IPR policies and laws in the countries and regions where they are located;
  • Sub-global assessments are encouraged to follow existing frameworks and guidelines concerning research practices, as developed by various professional societies such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society of Ethnobiology. The MA Secretariat will endeavour to have copies of relevant guidelines available for the use of the sub-global assessments;
  • Every attempt should be made by the sub-global assessments to make metadata and any information syntheses that they produce publicly available;
  • The MA will make it clear to sub-global assessments how any information they provide will be used, e.g. who will have access, rights to information etc.;
  • Prior informed consent of data holders is necessary for any use of data or information from a sub-global assessment;
  • All use of data and information from sub-global assessments should be acknowledged;
  • Copyrights to publications of individual sub-global assessment teams will be negotiated directly between the respective sub-global teams and the publishers that they select;
  • The MA will have the rights to publish, in the synthesis assessment report of the Sub-Global Working Group, either (i) the executive summaries of the final sub-global assessment reports, for those reports completed before the end of 2004, or (ii) a summary of the current status of the assessments, for those assessments that will not be completed by the end of 2004. The World Resources Institute on behalf of the MA Board will hold the copyright of the MA assessment reports.