Indigenous and Local Knowledge in IPBES

IPBES aims to promote effective engagement with indigenous and local knowledge holders in all relevant aspects of its work.

This commitment is outlined in Deliverable 1(c): Procedures, approaches and participatory processes for working with indigenous and local knowledge systems.

IPBES recognizes that indigenous peoples and local communities possess detailed knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem trends. This knowledge is formed through their direct dependence on their local ecosystems, and observations and interpretations of change generated and passed down over many generations, and yet adapted and enriched over time. Indigenous peoples and local communities from around the world often live in remote areas, interacting with nature and managing resources that contribute to society at large. They also suffer directly from the pressures of expanding agriculture frontiers and commodity production, such as mining, logging, and energy. They are often better placed than scientists to provide detailed information on local biodiversity and environmental change, and are important contributors to the governance of biodiversity from local to global levels.

Our work

Recognising the importance of indigenous and local knowledge to the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems as a cross-cutting issue relevant to all of its activities, IPBES established a task force on indigenous and local knowledge systems and agreed on terms of reference guiding its operations implementing this deliverable.

Much of IPBES' work with indigenous peoples and on ILK has been coordinated by the Technical Support Unit (TSU) on Indigenous and Local Knowledge, hosted by UNESCO. For an overview of work that has been carried out (including ILK Task Force meetings, regional ILK workshops, and other events) and relevent reports and other resources please visit the TSU on ILK website

Other work includes facilitation of a roster and network of experts to support the Platform’s work, and the delivery of a preliminary and final set of procedures and approaches for working with indigenous and local knowledge systems.

IPBES will also establish a participatory mechanism for indigenous and local knowledge systems to be established under the Platform, oriented to facilitate the linkages between indigenous and local communities and scientists and to strengthen the quality of indigenous peoples’ participation in the development of the deliverables of the Platform.