Based on a recently MoU signed between UNCTAD and the Institute of Intellectual Property of Ecuador, the latter invited UNCTAD to the launching of an export promotion campaign for key local products produced by local communities with high traditional knowledge content.
UNCTAD addressed participants at the launching event in Quito on 25 February 2015, highlighting the importance of initiatives that seek to promote key exports and undertake the necessary actions to enhance the economic and sustained development of local communities.
The campaign promoted Montecristi hats that are hand-made from leaves of a type of palm indigenous to Ecuador. Montecriti hats are the second protected designation of origin (PDO) declared by Institute of Intellectual Property (IEPI) of Ecuador after "cacao de Arriba".
Analysis from UNCTAD's National Green Exports Review of Ecuador reflected the importance of the Montecristi hats for the country. This product, jointly with other handmade hats, is the second in the country in terms of revealed comparative advantage (RCA). It is therefore of major social and economic significance that the country has taken steps to promote the work of local artisanal community in Montecristi, giving their product a recognized and guaranteed position in the international market and protecting it at the same time.
A Panama hats are a traditional brimmed straw hat of Ecuadorian origin. The rarest and most expensive hats are known as "Montecristis", after the town of Montecristi, where they are produced.
The intellectual property protection and the promotion of these products are also being granted through breeder's rights sui generis (special, of its own kind) protection through the Muyu seeds (new seeds) project, developed through plant breeding techniques in Ecuador.
It The development of new plant varieties and breeding techniques will be important for the development of the cut flower's sector in Ecuador, as well as other new food related plant varieties. This will help towards protecting these innovative plant varieties that as it will allow the protection of innovative varieties that are more productive and resilient to pests and climate change.
By making a more effective use of the protection system of its plant variety sui generis, Ecuador seeks to use its vast biodiversity not only to create plants that are unique in the world, but also to improve the value added of local production and benefit consumers' interests.
The collaboration between IEPI and UNCTAD in this event marks the first activity carried out under the MOU signed in late 2014 by the two institutions. It sets the basis for many cooperation activities to be jointly undertaken with the goal of enhancing technical capacities and local creativity in Ecuador in the fostering sustainable development and addressing poverty eradication.