International Expert and Stakeholder Workshop on the Contribution of Indigenous and Local Knowledge Systems to IPBES: Building Synergies with Science
9-11 June 2013 (Tokyo, Japan)

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has released the report of the international expert and stakeholder workshop on the contribution of indigenous and local knowledge systems to IPBES. The workshop was convened by the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, co-organized by the United Nations University (UNU) and UNESCO, and hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Environment. The report summarizes discussions on opportunities, challenges and needs with respect to indigenous and local knowledge in the IPBES framework, and identifies appropriate procedures and approaches for creating synergies between science and indigenous and local knowledge in regard to four themes: rethinking relationships between science and indigenous and local knowledge; fundamental aspects of indigenous and local knowledge; principles for engagement with holders of indigenous and local knowledge; and capacity-building needs. The report notes consensus among experts at the workshop that substantial effort is needed to satisfy the IPBES Work Programme objective to develop an adequate and comprehensive set of principles and procedures for building synergies between knowledge systems. Recommendations focus on approaches and procedures for working with indigenous and local knowledge in the IPBES framework, as well as an IPBES conceptual framework itself. In regard to approaches and procedures, recommendations include recognizing indigenous peoples and local communities as having a distinct status as knowledge-holders and rights-holders; putting in place mechanisms to ensure attention to gender-specific knowledge and gender balance; establishing a working group composed of indigenous and local knowledge-holders and scientists; and using a wide variety of media, languages, forums and communication processes to maximize participation and learning from indigenous and local knowledge-holders. The report will be presented for further consideration at the second session of the IPBES Plenary, to be held from 9-14 December 2013, in Antalya, Turkey. Visit the workshop’s webpage … Download the report [pdf] …

Fourth Global Conference of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative
12-14 September 2013 (Fukui, Japan)

IPSI-4, entitled ‘The Way Forward: Implementing the IPSI Strategy for the Benefit of Biodiversity and Human Well-being’, will be held at Fukui, Japan on 12-14 September 2013. The Conference is composed of the IPSI Assembly (IPSI members only), Public Forum (open to all interested participants, and a Public Symposium that Fukui Prefectural Government is organizing to facilitate the full engagement of local citizens and stakeholders. The Public Forum will focus on challenges and opportunities for socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes from local perspectives. It is recalled that the Satoyama Initiative aims at conserving human-influenced natural environments that people have developed and maintained sustainably over a long time, as well as the sustainable practices and knowledge they represent. Read the Conference announcement … Visit the website of the Satoyama Initiative …

The Right to Responsibility: Resisting and Engaging Development, Conservation and the Law in Asia
Holly Jonas and Harry Jonas, Natural Justice, and Suneetha M. Subramanian, UNU-IAS (eds), 2013

This edited volume explores how indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ resilience is often undermined by laws, institutional arrangements and judicial systems. It also examines how particular peoples and communities strive to overcome such structural barriers to self-determination by resisting unwanted developments and engaging proactively with a range of actors at multiple scales. The first part addresses the context and theoretical framework; the second examines specific community experiences, including the transboundary landscape approaches in the Kailash sacred landscape (China, India and Nepal), Sharwa (Sherpa) rights and indigenous conserved areas in Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park (Nepal), livestock keepers’ rights in South Asia, forest rights and conservation in India, and local forest governance, FPIC and REDD+ in Indonesia; and the third includes recommendations and concluding remarks. Comments and feedback are welcome by 1 September 2013 at holly(at)naturaljustice.org. Download the book [pdf] …

Ten more countries join Japan-UNDP biodiversity partnership
UNDP press release, 27 June 2013

NEW YORK, USA: Communities in Bhutan, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Namibia and Niger will join the second phase of the Community Development and Knowledge Management for the Satoyama Initiative (COMDEKS), a partnership between the government of Japan and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), bringing the number of involved countries to twenty. The programme promotes inclusive, community-based approaches to the sustainable development of landscapes and seascapes, incorporating support for biodiversity conservation, human security, in particular food security, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Communities in Brazil, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Fiji, India, Malawi, Nepal, Slovakia and Turkey are already involved in designing and implementing landscape strategies for the realization of “societies in harmony with nature”, as defined in the vision of the Satoyama Initiative. The programme is implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environment of Japan, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS). Read the press release … Visit the COMDEKS project website … Read the COMDEKS newsletter …

International Expert and Stakeholder Workshop: The Contribution of Indigenous and Local Knowledge Systems to IPBES: building synergies with science
9-11 June 2013 (Tokyo, Japan)

Convened by the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), co-organized by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and UNESCO, and hosted by UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace, this workshop was part of the ongoing intersessional process leading up to the second session of the IPBES plenary, scheduled for 9-14 December 2013, in Antalya, Turkey. It gathered over 30 academics and experts from around the world, with the aim to: examine and identify procedures and approaches for working with indigenous and local knowledge systems in the framework of IPBES; and review and assess possible conceptual frameworks for the work of IPBES that are based on or accommodate indigenous and local knowledge systems and worldviews.

In his opening remarks, IPBES Chair Professor Zakri highlighted that responding to the biodiversity crisis requires sound leadership and policies, which, in turn, require sound science. He noted that IPBES is designed to reduce the gulf between the wealth of scientific knowledge on declining biodiversity and its services, and knowledge about effective action to reverse these damaging trends, while the workshop’s responsibility is to develop a process that ensures the scientific and policy communities recognize, consider and accommodate indigenous and local knowledge in the framework of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Highlighting the interaction between scientific and technical authors with indigenous experts on the soon-to-be-released IPCC fifth assessment report on climate change, he noted the exchange of knowledge is truly inspiring, adding that traditional knowledge has a long history of sustainable management practices but also boasts great innovations and solutions to global problems. Further information on the workshop … Download the workshop’s agenda [pdf] … Download Professor Zakri’s opening remarks [doc] … Visit the IPBES website …

The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol: Why Intellectual Property Still Matters
17 May 2013 (UNU-IAS, Yokohama, Japan)

This seminar by Kiyoshi Adachi from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will highlight recent work by UNCTAD on the policy space available for countries to use selected intellectual property tools in support of the international access and benefit-sharing system. Further information …

Experiences and Lessons of Dynamic Conservation and Sustainable Development  from Asian GIAHS Pilot Sites
28 May 2013 (UNU-IAS, Kanazawa, Japan)

Six pilot sites in China and two in Japan have been designated by FAO as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) sites for dynamic conservation and adaptive management. In addition, more sites in China and Japan are under consideration for GIAHS designation, and an application is also planned for a Korean site. This workshop will bring together experts from China, Korea and Japan, as well as local residents, to share experiences and lessons learned regarding biodiversity conservation and rural development. Further information …

Public Symposium held on Indicators of Resilience in SEPLS
Satoyama Initiative release, 1 May 2013

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN: Held on 22 April 2013 at the UNU-IAS, and focusing on the resilience of the world’s socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS), this symposium featured speakers from Bioversity International and the UN Development Programme, two member organizations of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative. In his opening remarks, Wataru Suzuki, Coordinator of the International Satoyama Initiative at UNU-IAS, provided some background on the long collaborative process that has led to the development and testing of a set of twenty indicators for resilience in SEPLS. Nadia Bergamini, Bioversity International, shared some of the results of the initial testing of the indicators and lessons learned; and emphasized their usefulness for establishing a common understanding at community-level of threats and solutions and for determining which strategies can be undertaken to strengthen resilience. Diana Salvemini, UNDP, presented the Community Development and Knowledge Management for the Satoyama Initiative Project, a collaborative effort under IPSI, which supported local community activities in ten countries to promote sustainable landscape-level management approaches, and is projected to support activities in ten additional countries. Read the release, including links to presentations … Download the UNU-IAS policy report Indicators of Resilience in Socio-ecological Production Landscapes (SEPLS) [pdf] …

Traditional Knowledge and Climate Science Toolkit
Williams, C; Galloway McLean, K; Raygorodetsky, G; Ramos-Castillo, A; and Barrett, B
United Nations University, 2013 | ISBN: 978-92-808-4544-0

Indigenous communities have long, multi-generational histories of interaction with the environment that include coping with variability, uncertainty and change. However, climate-induced impacts on their territories and communities are anticipated to be both early and severe due to their location in vulnerable habitats, including small islands, high altitude zones, desert margins and the circumpolar Arctic. Climate change poses a direct threat to many indigenous societies due to their continuing reliance upon resource-based livelihoods. At the same time, resilience in the face of a changing environment is embedded in indigenous knowledge and know-how, diversified resources and livelihoods, social institutions and networks, and cultural values and attitudes. Attentiveness to environmental variability, shifts and trends is an integral part of their ways of life. Community-based and local knowledge may offer valuable insights on climate-induced changes, and complement broader-scale scientific research with local precision and nuance. Indigenous societies have elaborated coping strategies to deal with unstable environments, and in some cases, are already actively adapting to early climate change impacts. While the transformations due to climate change are expected to be unprecedented, indigenous knowledge and coping strategies provide a crucial foundation for community-based adaptation measures.

This toolkit provides access to articles, videos and various other resources that will assist indigenous peoples, local communities, policy makers and other stakeholders in accessing research on climate change adaptation and mitigation. It is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese. Download the toolkit [pdf] …

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