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UNESCO celebrates SIDS Knowledge Day 2018

10 January 2019

The SIDS Knowledge Day, entitled ‘Mobilisation of knowledge systems for sustainable development: new challenges for local knowledge of the SIDS’ was successfully held in UNESCO Paris Headquarters on November 19th, 2018. Following the success of the first seminar in September 2017 under the theme ‘Creative activities and regeneration of territories: which potentials for cultural and environmental activities in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)’, this second seminar focused on local knowledge and practices which may facilitate policy-making in SIDS and their achievement of 2030 agenda and SDG targets. As the world is changing fast, new challenges emerge in aspects of economy, environment and social transformation for SIDS. With limited resources, how can SIDS effectively mobilise local knowledge to meet these challenges to advance their development while sustaining their livelihoods? This special event aimed to provide an opportunity for practitioners in various fields to debate on this issue and share their knowledge and experiences.
 
The seminar was structured around two main parts. The first one illustrated domains and evolution of local knowledge. In this part, speakers and experts from research institutions, public sectors and international agencies introduced i) local knowledge mapping and transmission, ii) the importance of data for decision-making in SIDS and  iii) the legal perspective of local knowledge. The second part explored how to activate local knowledge to implement sustainable development policies. Speakers presented the idea of participatory sciences, community-based or participatory research applied to SIDS, with specific references to existing projects. (For more details of all presentations and discussions, see the full report of SIDS Knowledge Day)

In conclusion, the SIDS Knowledge Day reinforced the idea that local knowledge has powerful potential to meet SIDS’ needs in economic, social and environmental aspects. Mobilising local knowledge can assist SIDS in advancing towards their sustainable development. For policy-makers and practitioners, the next step would be to effectively mobilise such knowledge and local assets with advanced methodologies and technologies in order for better-informed policy-making, planning and resilience in SIDS.