Dr Dina Kariodimedjo – 2022

Slow Progress is Still Progress’: Protecting and Safeguarding Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions in Indonesia

This paper examines the politics of government and of law in protecting and safeguarding traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions in Indonesia. It identifies the challenges and progress in ensuring protection and safeguards and thereby considers which actors might thus be serving as villains or as heroes.

The main legal basis for protecting and safeguarding traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions is Law Number 5 of 2017 on Cultural Advancement. But to be both enforced and fully operational the Law requires implementing regulations. However, so far very few have been enacted. Consequently, the Law is a paper tiger in reality and shows a lack of Government political will or politics of law. This is a sad story since Indonesia as a nation proclaims awareness and pride of its traditional cultural heritage.

It could be argued that ‘slow progress is still progress’. But, since traditional knowledge and cultural expressions are vital for Indonesia’s social and economic identity, a more active and progressive development is needed. The experiences and lessons learned from several local governments, such as the Yogyakarta Special Provincial Government and the Bali Provincial Government, provide little hope for efforts in protecting and safeguarding traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. At the national level, the Government needs to ensure that there is a firm commitment for the peoples’ benefit. 

Dr. Dina Kariodimedjo
Faculty of Law
University of Gadjah Mada


Dr Dina W. Kariodimedjo is an Associate Professor in the Business Law Department of the Faculty of Law, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Indonesia. She is a researcher and Treasurer with the Centre for Intellectual Property, Competition, and Dispute Settlement Mechanism Studies (CICODS) of the Faculty of Law UGM. Her research interests include Intellectual Property Law, International Trade Law, Technology Law, and Cultural Heritage. Dina holds a LL.B. from Universitas Gadjah Mada and a LL.M. from Monash University, Australia and the University of Turin, Italy in cooperation with the WIPO Worldwide Academy. She also holds a Ph.D. from Charles Darwin University, Australia. Her doctoral thesis, ‘Illuminating the Future by Safeguarding and Protecting Intangible Cultural Heritage in Indonesia’, focuses on the Indonesian legislation and government policies concerned with intangible cultural heritage from the perspective of intellectual property legal framework. Her current research project is ‘Protection and Advancement of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions of Indonesia: The Utilization of Balinese Endek Weaving by Christian Dior’ and ‘Resolve Intellectual Property Cases with Accessible and Feasible Method’. She was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of South Carolina, USA; Hainan University, China; and Charles Darwin University. She is a founder, member and Secretary of the Indonesian Intellectual Property Lecturers Association (Asosiasi Pengajar Hak Kekayaan Intelektual Indonesia/APHKI Indonesia). She has published and made conference presentations on Intellectual Property Law, Indonesia’s cultural heritage protection regime and regimes in other cultures. Correspondence: dinawk@ugm.ac.id.