Possibilities for using traditional and local knowledge in assessments

Possibilities for using traditional and
local knowledge in assessments
Marie Kvarnström, NAPTEK, Swedish Biodiversity Centre, Uppsala;
Stockholm Resilience Centre/CBM-NAPTEK project group on Multiple knowledge systems
7. In carrying out its work an IPBES
d) Recognize and respect the contribution of
indigenous and local knowledge to the
conservation and sustainable use of
biodiversity and ecosystems.
(Busan outcome UNEP/IPBES/3/L.2/Rev.1)
Multilateral environmental agreements need to be
taken into account, e g
the Convention on Biological Diversity
Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate:
Article 8 (j): … respect, preserve and maintain knowledge,
innovations and practices of indigenous and local
communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the
conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity …
Article 10(c:) Protect and encourage customary use of biological
resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices that
are compatible with conservation or sustainable use
CBD Programme of Work on Protected
Goal 2.2: To enhance and secure involvement of
indigenous and local communities and relevant
Target: Full and effective participation by 2008, of
indigenous and local communities, in full respect of
their rights and recognition of their responsibilities,
consistent with national law and applicable
international obligations, and the participation of
relevant stakeholders, in the management of existing,
and the establishment and management of new,
protected areas
There are NGO and indigenous initiatives to learn
from, such as Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change
Assessment Initiative, IPCCA
What kind of knowledge are we talking
Traditional knowledge
Indigenous knowledge
Indigenous science
Aboriginal knowledge
Local Knowledge
Traditional Ecological Knowledge
“With respect to traditional knowledge and data that is
shared with IPBES for its assessments, IPBES should
respect the rights of indigenous peoples and not
share, without permission, such knowledge and data
without prior informed consent unless the
knowledge and/or data is already publicly available
in ways that respect the
rights of the knowledge
(IUCN comments on IPBES work
programme under construction).
Note: also local communities,
Not only indigenous peoples
Evaluation of Local Ecological Knowledge as a Method
for Collecting Extensive Data on Animal Abundance.
(Anadón et al, 2009, Conservation Biology)
• Estimation of abundance of the terrestrial tortoise
Testudo graeca by local shepherds in SE Spain
• high-quality and low-cost information about both
distribution and abundance
• Analysis of confidence intervals indicated local
knowledge could be used to estimate mean local
abundances and to detect mean population trends
• abundance estimates in a much wider
range than linear transects
• information derived from LEK
was 100 times cheaper
Inuit Knowledge of Long-term Changes in a Population
of Arctic Tundra Caribou (Ferguson et al., Arctic 1998)
Inuit knowledge proved to be temporally and spatially
more complete than the written record
abundances described by Inuit were generally
consistent with densities estimated from aerial surveys
using aerial survey, a numerical scale for Inuit
descriptions of caribou abundance was developed
stunning accuracy and precision of the informants’
Inuit informants were able to accurately predict
population changes
The threat of climate change makes
collaboration between caribou biologists,
other scientists, and the Inuit especially
Learning from Traditional Knowledge of Non-timber Forest
Products: Penan Benalui and the Autecology of Aquilaria in
Indonesian Borneo (Donovan and Puri, 2004)
• study of distribution of resincontaining trees of genus Aquilaria,
a tropical forest tree of South and
Southeast Asia
• the Penan Benalui have detailed
knowledge of distribution,
abundance, complexity of resin
formation, involving 1-2 species of
fungi and 1 insect species
“Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) offers
ecological information and insight relevant to
ecological management and research that
cannot be obtained from other sources”
While this makes sense, the statement is also
problematic, for reasons explained in the
following slides:
“The idea of integration … contains the implicit
assumption that the cultural beliefs and practices
referred to as "traditional knowledge" conform to
western conceptions about "knowledge." It takes
for granted existing power relations between
aboriginal people and the state by assuming that
traditional knowledge is simply a new form of
"data" to be incorporated into existing
management bureaucracies and acted upon by
scientists and resource managers.”
“As a result, aboriginal people have been forced to express
themselves in ways that conform to the institutions and
practices of state management rather than to their own
beliefs, values, and practices. And, since it is scientists and
resource managers, rather than aboriginal hunters and
trappers, who will be using this new "integrated"
knowledge, the project of integration actually serves to
concentrate power in administrative centers, rather than in
the hands of aboriginal people.”
The Politics Of TEK: Power And The Integration Of Knowledge
(Paul Nadasdy, 1999, Arctic Anthropology)
Scientists and resource managers usually do not even acknowledge, much less
attempt to make use of, the stories, beliefs, and values which inform the
hunters' view of the world and specify the proper relationship between
themselves and the animals in question.
The case of management of Dall sheep in Southwest Yukon, Canada. Biologists
wanted to cull full curl rams (+7-8yrs). Kluane First Nation hunters said this
would remove the individuals who had the most important knowledge for
the social structure in their herds. They were the memory and the teachers
of the herd, and removing them would seriously disrupt social structure.
According to members of Kluane First Nation, disruption of social structure of
sheep can do at least as much damage to their population as the
deaths of hordes of
potential offspring.
Dialogue Workshop on Knowledge for the 21st Century:
Indigenous knowledge, Traditional knowledge, Science and
connecting diverse knowledge systems
• To contribute to strengthened exchange and cross-fertilization
between knowledge systems in an equal, legitimate, and
transparent way.
• To outline the context of connecting diverse knowledge
systems, including indigenous and local knowledge and
experiential knowledge as well as Western scientific
knowledge, for the benefit of knowledge generation, capacity
building and ecosystem assessments as carried out by
researchers, including NGOs, governing authorities, and
others, , with the final aim of contributing to sustainable
Stockholm Resilience Centre/CBM-NAPTEK project group on Multiple
knowledge systems together with representatives of International Indigenous
Forum on Biodiveristy and other partners
Some issues for IPBES:
• ”Dual-evidence base”?
• different criteria of validation?
• Design of a process for indigenous and local
knowledge in IPBES
• Selection of actors in this process
• Accountability to all constituencies
• Protection of ownership of knowledge,