Traditional medical practices have safeguarded the health of indigenous communities for generations. There is a consensus on the gradual extinction of indigenous knowledge including Traditional medical knowledge. The consequences are that vital knowledge that might contribute to the future survival of the people is gradually being lost. It is therefore imperative to preserve this knowledge and save them for the future generations. The Conserve Indigenous Knowledge - Sri Lanka highlights the role of conservation, preservation, documentation and conducting continuous research on the sustainable utilization of such indigenous medical knowledge through pout the country.
After conducting several studies and interviews with different sectors of the Sri Lankan society CIK - Sri Lanka come to conclusion that Further, cultural erosion is one of the powerful factors in the loss of Sri Lankan traditional knowledge related to the health practices of the Sri Lankan population. As youth move to urban areas and education de-emphasizes the value of traditional culture and knowledge, Traditional Medical Knowledge loses its heirs.
“Urbanization and the advent of the social groups leading to the virtual disappearance of the village elders, have led to a situation where common remedies which had been administered without any doctors for centuries have now become questionable for a new generation.
The age-old practices of maintaining kitchen medicinal herb gardens and visits to the village grocer who stocked all the dried herbs have gone into disuse in the cities. Knowledge about which part of the plant is to be used, namely, the root, stem, bark or leaves, has been effaced. Yet, for centuries this had been the mainstay of entire populations, long before western medicine came on the scene.
Role of CIK in Preservation of Indigenous Health Practices in Sri Lanka. CIK works with local healers to document details of all traditional medicine with a view to promoting a sharing of practices within the country. The CIK is also collaborating with other local and international organizations in efforts to discover prospective medicinal practices. The experience realized by using medicinal herbs and knowledge recovered during the collaboration will be shared with all the involved communities.
The CIK also set up a programme In order to protect traditional medicinal knowledge and promote proper use of traditional medicine. This program conducted surveys of traditional health practitioners in North Central Province of Sri Lanka and will record medicinal plants, used by traditional health practitioners in the province preservation and protecting the Indigenous knowledge relating to the Health Practices of the local communities the CIK will seriously concern on the role of intellectual property play in the preservation process.
In preserving TRM. The Crucible Group has considered with some detail the arguments for and against a possible function of IPRs in the preservation of traditional knowledge. The Group identified general reasons that may, if the cause and effect assumptions within the arguments can be substantiated, justify a system of IPR protection as a means to ensure the preservation of such knowledge. According to one of such arguments,
“Ensure the legally recognized ownership of the traditional knowledge in communities will raise the profile of that knowledge and encourage respect for it both inside and outside the knowledge holding communities will make the learning and development of such knowledge a more attractive prospect for the younger members of such communities, thus perpetuating its existence.
The possibility of economic returns for the use of that knowledge by third parties acts as a further incentive for community members to respect their knowledge and continue to engage in practices in which that knowledge is used and generated.
Indigenous and local knowledge holders will be more willing to disclose otherwise secret knowledge once they know that laws can give then control over how their knowledge gets used.
Encourage the disclosure, use and proliferation of knowledge that might otherwise be lost”.