Respecting Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge and Culture


Related Files
  • DATE / TIME:
    2014•11•12    16:15 - 2014•11•19    13:30

    UNU-IAS will be organizing Stream 7 on Respecting Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge and Culture at the IUCN World Parks Congress to be held from 12 to 19 November in Sydney, Australia.

    14 November 11:00–12:00

    The Opening Plenary for Stream 7 will take place on 14 November in Hall 4B1. The plenary will include a Welcome to Country, a dance performance and inspiring introductions to the Stream themes by Indigenous leaders from around the world. The Indigenous leaders include Patrick Dodson (Australia), Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (the Philippines), Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Chad), Ramiro Batzin (Guatemala), and Aroha Mead (New Zealand).

    14 November 13:30–15:00

    UNU-IAS and IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas will be co-organizing the event Nature-Culture Linkages: Stewardship of Biocultural Landscapes for Biodiversity and People to be held on 14 November at the Amphitheatre.

    The effective and equitable governance of protected areas is considered to be one of the best ways of slowing today’s unprecedented loss of biodiversity. However, while their stewards may be equipped with legal instruments, resource constraints and other issues can make it difficult for protected areas to realize their intended effects. To achieve conservation targets, it is therefore important to recognize the need for cooperative management of buffer zones and corridors that border and surround protected areas. Increasingly, indigenous and traditional knowledge and land-use practices by communities in biocultural landscapes inside and neighbouring protected areas are being recognized for their potential contributions in this area. This session aims to stimulate discussion and solicit suggestions regarding the significance of biocultural landscapes, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme, and other protected landscapes, customary uses of biodiversity, and the concept of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS) as defined by the Satoyama Initiative.

    15 November 13:30–15:00

    On 15 November, UNU-IAS, University of Victoria, and Northwest Indian College will co-organize a workshop entitled Traditional Marine Management Systems and International Policies and Targets in Hall 4B1.

    Indigenous Peoples and local communities undertake conservation and sustainable use in a diversity of ways, often based on their traditional knowledge and understanding of the marine environment and its resources. Traditional knowledge has survived the test of time and is adaptable to changing circumstances. Its application in marine management can improve the resilience of both biodiversity and human communities. Culturally-based approaches are effective in producing social, economic and biodiversity benefits, and contribute to national and global targets set by the Convention on Biological Diversity and other international policy instruments related to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), other area-based conservation, and fisheries. This session will explore successes of traditional and local marine management, its contribution to international policies and targets, and potential solutions to conflicts that can result between conservation approaches, such as MPAs, and sustainable uses by communities.

    15 November 13:30–15:00

    UNU-IAS will also co-organize a session with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Allianc(NAILSMA) on Traditional Fire Management and Climate Change Mitigation on 15 November in Hall 2 Nth Pod.

    The use of fire in land management has many dimensions in traditional societies around the world. Fire is a key tool in protecting economic, cultural and environmental assets. Fire management practices are infused with traditional and local knowledge so fire may be seen by Aboriginal peoples as an extension of themselves, helping shape the land and create the values important for social, economic and cultural life.

    Fire understood as something familiar and healthy challenges most mainstream views of fire as inherently destructive and unfamiliar. Expert customary burning is barely acknowledged within “modern” knowledge systems, constraining its effective (re)application and the benefits it affords to both biological and cultural health and diversity. Whilst altered seasonal conditions due to climate change may threaten the efficacy of traditional fire use, for some the policy and market infrastructure built around climate change concerns and the adaptability in traditional knowledge systems offers livelihood opportunities through reinvigorating traditional-style fire management. This session will explore some of these challenges and opportunities for Indigenous Peoples managing their customary lands. It will look at some of the innovative approaches in use and stimulate discussion about future issues and support for these culturally and environmentally significant and globally diverse practices.

    Other highlights of Stream 7 include the following events.

    1. From Durban to Sydney to be held on 14 November will take stock of the important progress made since the last World Parks Congress in Durban, highlighting Indigenous Peoples’ involvement, contribution and leadership in protected areas and beyond. Panel members from indigenous and local communities, NGOs, protected areas and the donor community will explore progress, setbacks and ongoing challenges.
    2. Not to be missed is the first global overview of how the world’s Indigenous Peoples and local communities are protecting our biodiversity at a joint event with Stream 1 (Reaching Conservation Goals) on Contributions of Indigenous and Community Conservation to Global Biodiversity Targets to be held on 15 November. In every inhabited continent, large areas under traditional management for generations provide biodiversity habitat and other ecosystem services. These new regional updates will culminate in a global picture of how indigenous and local communities contribute to global biodiversity targets.
    3. On 17 November, a two-part session on Sacred Natural Sites will take place. This session will focus on the latest innovative strategies for protecting indigenous sacred natural sites and territories from the interests of sectors such as mining and oil. Indigenous Peoples from around the world will tell stories of resilience. Be inspired by solutions building equitable partnerships which achieve conservation goals in protected areas and landscapes.

    Please visit the World Parks Congress website for more information on these events.


    The eight programme streams at the World Parks Congress address key issues and challenges faced by parks and protected areas, and make up the overall framework for discussions and outcomes of the Congress.

    The theme for Stream 7 is the role of traditional and indigenous knowledge and practices, as well as recognizing cultural and spiritual values in sustaining and enhancing the socio-environmental resilience of indigenous peoples and local communities and the lands and seas under their management. This stream will engage Indigenous Peoples, local communities, governments, non-governmental and international organizations, and the private sector to collaborate in recognizing the role of indigenous and local communities in protected area management. This stream seeks to build long-term partnerships to demonstrate how these management systems contribute to the achievement of conservation goals, as well as to the well-being of communities around the world.

    For more information on Stream 7, please visit the stream’s website or download the fact sheet.

  • Stream_7_Fact_Sheet-Respecting_Indigenous_and_Traditional_Knowledge_and_Culture

    (5.4 MB PDF)

  • IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
    Sydney Olympic Park