Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Portal

WIPO's Indigenous Portal provides access to information for, and relating specifically to, indigenous peoples and local communities.


(Photo: UN/Perret)

How can WIPO help protect your traditional knowledge?

WIPO's Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) is undertaking text-based negotiations with the objective of reaching agreement on a text (or texts) of an international legal instrument (or instruments) which will ensure the effective protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources.

WIPO Voluntary Fund

The WIPO Voluntary Fund facilitates the participation of indigenous and local communities in the work of the IGC. 

WIPO Indigenous Fellowship Program

Our Indigenous Fellowship Program – launched in 2009 – enables members of indigenous and local communities to work in WIPO's Traditional Knowledge Division on issues relevant to indigenous peoples.

A Call for expressions of interest for the WIPO Indigenous Fellowship program in 2022-2023 has been launched (deadline April 24, 2022) PDF, WIPO Indigenous fellow

Customary Law and IP

Customary law is the set of customs, practices and beliefs that are accepted as obligatory rules of conduct by a community. Customary law forms an intrinsic part of social and economic systems and the way of life of indigenous peoples and local communities.

What role customary law should play in the wider protection of traditional knowledge (TK) is a challenging question that raises a host of policy and legal issues. Holders of traditional knowledge have stressed that respect and recognition of customary law is integral to appropriate protection of traditional knowledge against misuse and misappropriation by others.

Find out more

  • Customary Law and TK PDF, Customary Law and TK, Background brief
  • Customary Law, TK and IP: An Outline of the Issues
  • Customary Law in the Protection of TK - Regional Study in the Andean Countries
  • Customary Law in ABS and TK Governance: Perspectives from Andean and Pacific Island Countries


Indigenous panels

Presentations on indigenous and local community experience – delivered at sessions of the IGC by a panel of representatives – provide invaluable insight into the experiences, concerns and aspirations of indigenous and local communities concerning the protection, promotion and preservation of traditional knowledge.

IP and Traditional Knowledge/Traditional Cultural Expressions: Indigenous Peoples' and Local Communities' Perspectives on Objectives

June 17, 2019

PDF download: Flyer | Program


WIPO hosts practical workshops for indigenous peoples and local communities on IP and traditional knowledge.

External resources

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples