Skip to main content

indigenous and local knowledge

Acronym: ILK

Definition Source References

Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) refers to dynamic bodies of integrated, holistic, social and ecological knowledge, practices and beliefs pertaining to the relationship of living beings, including people, with one another and with their environments.

Sustainable use assessment IPBES, 2021

A cumulative body of knowledge, practice and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment. It is also referred to by other terms such as: indigenous, local or traditional knowledge; traditional ecological/environmental knowledge (TEK); farmers' or fishers' knowledge; ethnoscience; indigenous science; folk science.

Scenarios and models assessment, Global assessment (1st work programme) IPBES/3/INF/4

The knowledge, practices and innovations embedded in the relationships of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities to nature. ILK is situated in a place and social context, but at the same time open and hybrid, continuously evolving through the combination of written, oral, tacit, practical, and scientific knowledge attained from various sources, and validated by experimentation and in practice of direct interaction with nature. See chapter 1 (section and chapter 2.2 (section 2.2.2) for a discussion on the differences between ‘indigenous knowledge’ and ‘local knowledge’.