The Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) programme is a UNESCO interdisciplinary initiative that works:

  • to secure an active and equitable role for local communities in resource management;
  • to strengthen knowledge transmission across and within generations;
  • to explore pathways to balance community-based knowledge with global knowledge in formal and non-formal education;
  • to support the meaningful inclusion of local and indigenous knowledge in biodiversity conservation and management, and climate change assessment and adaptation, in particular through work with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The LINKS team brings together expertise from the Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, Communication & Information and Education.

It also involves UNESCO field offices in Apia (Samoa), Bangkok (Thailand), Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Jakarta (Indonesia), Montevideo (Uruguay), Quito (Ecuador) and San José (Costa Rica).

For more information contact: links(at)

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What is Local and Indigenous Knowledge?

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.