Amplifying the unique voices, perspectives and contributions of indigenous and local communities to make better decisions for biodiversity
Biodiversity conservation often depends on indigenous peoples and local communities. They are important stewards of nature, occupying and sustainably managing at least 25% of the global land area, including many of the Earth’s remaining areas of high biodiversity. They have been able to protect these areas through sustainable use of resources mediated by in-depth knowledge and traditional governance systems, and through active resistance to encroachment by industry, agriculture and other forms of environmental degradation. However, their contributions to global conservation often go unrecognised and unsupported.
Indigenous and Local Knowledge in National Ecosystem Assesments
Indigenous and local knowledge can make significant contributions to national ecosystem assessments. Many indigenous peoples and local communities hold detailed and diverse knowledge of biodiversity and ecosystems due to their sustained connection with nature over many generations, including through resource-based livelihoods and spirituality. As they often live in remote and highly biodiverse areas, they can have knowledge of ecosystems that are little studied by science. Indigenous and local knowledge also holds distinct philosophies and spiritual underpinnings that can interpret environmental challenges and solutions in novel ways.
With the support of UNESCO, the national ecosystem assessment teams are collaborating with indigenous peoples and local communities to co-produce knowledge for the assessments in ways that bring benefits to the communities themselves and provide the best available knowledge for a national ecosystem assessment.
BES-Net is committed to upholding gender equality and leaving no one behind in its work. Amplifying women’s voices in the Trialogue process and including gender perspectives in its work, BES-Net also benefits from the wealth of experience that local biodiversity and gender organizations bring to its Network.
Read about one such organization, a women-led CSO called LEAD Tchad, from our Francophone Africa Virtual Trialogue in 2020, working with technology to empower rural women in the Sahel region.
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