Senior officials from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) have gathered at two recent symposiums in Jakarta to discuss intellectual property, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and cultural heritage.

Participants also identified and discussed key issues facing countries while developing policies in the aforesaid areas during the workshops, which took place from June 2-7 as part of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation Work Programme (ECWP) project.

The events were organised to help the bloc’s members build policies regarding the utilisation of products from their rich cultural heritage and biodiversity resources.

They are hoped to help ASEAN members increase their knowledge of the potential role of intellectual property principles and systems in the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions, said Parlagutan Lubis Director of Cooperation and Promotion of the Indonesian Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights.

This will also help the member states develop policy responses to prevent misappropriation and ensure any benefits from commercialisation are appropriately shared, he added.

The information shared at the workshops will also enable regional countries to fully engage in and influence international discussions on these issues, he said.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA