Methods for Valuing Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in Uncertain Times

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Blackwell, Hunter and Bodle present their findings from a research project commissioned by IP Australia on valuing Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in both current and future markets. Such research is timely during this particularly uncertain moment in human history that features an unprecedented series of ecological, epidemiological and economic crises. IK embodies a deep understanding that facilitated the survival of economic and cultural systems that have survived intact across 60,000 years, including periods of sustained climate change and even ice ages. Prior to this commissioned work, there was no systematic overview of methods for valuation of the IK embedded in goods and services traded in markets. IK is used in every major sector of the economy, but is yet to have formal recognition in intellectual and cultural property rights, let alone the establishment of specific legal instruments to protect those rights. Having monetary values for IK is important to ensure that the owners of IK are compensated for their contribution to the economy and society. Better valuation of IK can also help with the development of Indigenous business, society and communities and to help guide the Indigenous use of instruments to help protect that knowledge.