Building peace in the minds of men and women

Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS)

Local and indigenous knowledge refers to the understandings, skills and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings. For rural and indigenous peoples, local knowledge informs decision-making about fundamental aspects of day-to-day life.

This knowledge is integral to a cultural complex that also encompasses language, systems of classification, resource use practices, social interactions, ritual and spirituality.

These unique ways of knowing are important facets of the world’s cultural diversity, and provide a foundation for locally-appropriate sustainable development.

UNESCO's Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems programme (LINKS) promotes local and indigenous knowledge and its inclusion in global climate science and policy processes. LINKS has been influential in ensuring that local and indigenous knowledge holders and their knowledge are included in contemporary science-policy-society fora on issues such as biodiversity assessment and management (CBD, IPBES), climate change assessment and adaptation (IPCC, UNFCCC), natural disaster preparedness (ISDR) and sustainable development (Rio+20, Future Earth). Working at local, national and global levels, LINKS strives to strengthen indigenous peoples and local communities, foster transdisciplinary engagements with scientists and policy-makers and pilot novel methodologies to further understandings of climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation.

Themes

The last few decades have seen a shift in the relationship between science and other systems of knowledge, reflected in the explicit recognition of indigenous knowledge in many global environmental governance fora. UNESCO, through its LINKS programme, has been influential in ensuring that local and indigenous knowledge holders and their knowledge are included in contemporary science-policy-society fora on issues such as biodiversity assessment and management (CBD, IPBES), climate change assessment and adaptation (IPCC, UNFCCC), natural disaster preparedness (ISDR) and sustainable development (Rio+20, Future Earth).

Priority areas

 

UNESCO's Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems programme (LINKS) works on a number of processes and projects relating to indigenous and local knowledge and biodiversity, including supporting the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).  Project

 

 

 

 

UNESCO's Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems programme (LINKS) promotes local and indigenous knowledge and its inclusion in global climate science and policy processes. Working at local, national and global levels, LINKS strives to strengthen indigenous peoples and local communities, foster transdisciplinary engagements with scientists and policy-makers and pilot novel methodologies to further understandings of climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation.

Project

 

Education programmes provide important tools for human development, but they may also compromise the transmission of indigenous knowledge.

With formal education, children spend much time learning passively in classroom settings, rather than engaged in hands-on learning on the land. Teachers replace parents and elders as the holders of knowledge and authority. National languages become the medium of instruction, while vernacular languages are sidelined. Formal education may therefore contribute to an erosion of cultural diversity, a loss of social cohesion and the alienation and disorientation of indigenous youth.There is an urgent need to enhance the intergenerational transmission of indigenous knowledge, as a complement to mainstream education. Efforts are now being made to bring indigenous language and knowledge into school curricula, and to move learning back into the community, thus reaffirming the status of elders as knowledge holders.

Project