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318. IUCN is also one of the three organizations that provides advice relating to implementation of the World Heritage Convention. In doing so IUCN relies not only on the expertise of its staff, but calls on its members ship and the members of the expert World Commission on Protected Areas to make input. 230

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 230

319. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was established in 1961 to serve as a forum where Governments of leading developed economies work together to address the economic, social and environmental challenges of globalisation. OECD provides a setting for governments to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and work to coordinate domestic and international policies. OECD is also one of the world’s largest and most reliable sources of comparable statistical, economic and social data, and produces internationally agreed instruments, decisions and recommendations to promote good governance in areas such as information and communications policy, taxation and the environment. 230

320. The Environment Directorate provides governments with the analytical basis to develop policies that are effective and economically efficient, including through country performance reviews, data collection, policy analysis, projections and modelling, and the development of common approaches. 230

321. The OECD Working Group on Economic Aspects of Biodiversity, focuses on markets for biodiversity, incentives and valuation, access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing, and has been working closely with the CBD on these issues. It also works on other areas of biodiversity, in particular market creation, and seeks active partnerships with other international organizations. 230

322. The Framework for Common Actions around Shared Goals commits OECD member countries to collaborating on key issues relating to environment and development. Recently three main work streams have emerged as (i) integrating climate adaptation into development co-operation, (ii) financing water supply and sanitation; and (iii) the governance and capacity development for natural resources and environmental management. 230

323. ENVIRONET works to enhance the coherence of OECD country policies in the areas of environment and development co-operation by bringing together senior-level representatives of development co-operation agencies responsible for environment and environmental specialists from multilateral agencies such as the European Environmental Agency, ECOSOC and the World Bank. Its membership also includes leading international NGOs. 230

Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) 230

324. The Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment is an interdisciplinary body consisting of natural and social scientists and scientific institutions which are working together to develop syntheses and reviews of scientific knowledge related to current or potential future environmental issues. It therefore operates at the interface between scientific and decision-making. 230

325. SCOPE does not carry out field or laboratory based research but works on projects developing state-of-the-art scientific reviews of key environmental issues. Projects are initiated by one or more SCOPE members and are then submitted to the General Assembly and Executive Committee for review and approval. SCOPEs science programme uses a 3 cluster structure (Managing Societal and Natural Resources, Ecosystem Processes and Biodiversity, Health and Environment) which promotes cross-programme co-ordination and interaction. 230

326. SCOPE consists of 37 national science academies and research councils and 22 international scientific unions. These members constitute the General Assembly, which convenes every three years, and are responsible for electing the Executive Committee. Members are expected to develop activities which support SCOPEs objectives at the National and International level. 230

327. SCOPE is concerned with reviewing and publishing scientific research and identifying gaps in current scientific research, and communicates project results to scientists, decision-makers and the general public through peer-reviewed scientific monographs and by maintaining a rigorous ongoing publications programme. 231

Scientific, Technical and Research Commission of the African Union (AU/STRC) 231

1. The Scientific, Technical and Research Commission of the African Union (AU/STRC) was instituted by Organization of African Uunity in 1964 to replace the Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa with a mandate to coordinate and promote scientific and technological research and findings, and to serve as a clearing house for all scientific and technical activities for sustainable growth and development on the continent. The AU/STRC is headquartered in Lagos (Nigeria) and it is now one of the departments of the African Union Commission. 231

328. AU/STRC work focuses on applied research including the development of relevant technologies to inform African Union’s policies. It conducts capacity building programmes for policy-makers and other stakeholders in areas of applied science, traditional knowledge and other similar areas. A regional database of national expertise in relevant areas and priority research and capacity building needs is being created in collaboration with national and international partners. 231

329. The Commission works closely with National Councils for Science and Technology (NCST) or equivalent institutions at tha national level to build capacity and inform policies. Within the AU Commission, STRC collaborates closely with Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU/BAR) of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA). There is also collaboration with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the International Council for Science Regional Office for Africa (ICSU ROA). 231

330. The Commission operates through “expert committees” composed of the representatives of African countries who are specialists in identified areas of science and technology. More specialised inter-African sub-committees were created under the AU/STRC. The most relevant areas to science and policies with dedicated sub-committees include soil science, sea and inland fisheries, medicinal plants and traditional medicine, and biodiversity, biotechnology and biosafety. 231

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCBD) 231

331. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a CEO-led global association of approximately 200 companies dealing exclusively with business and sustainable development. The council functions as a platform for companies to share knowledge and experiences of sustainable development. It is also actively involved with advocacy of business positions on sustainable development and in this capacity, works alongside a variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations. The WBCSD has members from 35 countries and around 20 different industrial sectors. Its stated objectives include being a leading business advocate for sustainable development, promoting the business case for sustainable development; demonstrating the contribution which businesses make to sustainable development and contributing to a sustainable future for developing nations. 231

332. The WBCSD Ecosystem Focus Area aims to provide a credible engagement and collaboration platform to address challenges and opportunities associated with ecosystems and ecosystem services. It will build on the work of the WBCSD Sustaining Ecosystems Initiative. The Focus Area will support the business license of member companies to operate, innovate and grow by proactively addressing business risks associated with accelerating ecosystem degradation and the loss of ecosystem services. More specifically, it will promote the development and uptake of best practice mitigation and market-based approaches that support the sustainable management and use of ecosystems services – both on a stand-alone basis and in cooperation with other stakeholders. 231

A.8. Review of the role of Local Knowledge in Science-Policy Interface Relevant to Biodiversity 232

1. According to a case study on Mobilizing Traditional Knowledge and Expertise for Decision-Making on Biodiversity issued by the IMoSEB processes, it is now widely accepted in western scientific and policy making arenas that the knowledge and practices of Indigenous peoples, traditional societies and local communities make important contributions to the maintenance of biological diversity. Simply put, traditional knowledge and expertise cannot be ignored in biodiversity conservation and management efforts. The key challenge at present is to move beyond merely accepting in principle the importance of traditional knowledge in policy-making related to biodiversity conservation and management, to ensuring these knowledges and practices are fully considered and implemented in policy decisions in a more systematic way. This is, however, a complex and multifaceted challenge that involves a number of practical and philosophical considerations of vital importance. Moreover, the situations and priority concerns of Indigenous peoples, traditional societies and local communities are not uniform across the world, so due care is needed to avoid generalizations or extrapolations that may overlook significant regional differences or diversity and lead to erroneous outcomes. 232

333. Local knowledge (also variously referred to as traditional, indigenous, community, customary, or practical knowledge), refer to the long-standing information, wisdom, traditions and practices of certain indigenous peoples or local communities. In many cases, traditional knowledge has been orally passed for generations from person to person. Some forms of local knowledge are expressed through stories, legends, folklore, rituals, songs, art, and even laws. Other forms of such knowledge are often expressed through different means. One distinction that is often made between local knowledge and modern or ‘western’ knowledge is that unlike the latter, it does not separate ‘secular’ or ‘rational’ knowledge from spiritual knowledge, intuitions, and wisdom. It is often embedded in a cosmology, and the distinction between ‘intangible’ knowledge and physical things is often blurred. Indeed, holders of local knowledge often claim that their knowledge cannot be divorced from the natural and cultural context within which it has arisen, including their traditional lands and resources, and their kinship and community relations. It is embedded in a social, cultural, political, and economic context, and taking it away from this context (as is sometimes done in ‘documentation’ exercises), is to devalue it and rob it of its essence. 232

334. Local knowledge is not, as often perceived, a static phenomenon, but one that is constantly evolving with changes in the internal and external environment of the community concerned. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘non-formal’ knowledge, but it should be recognized that communities can and have also formalized knowledge systems. While deeply rooted in practical experience, often over generations, but also contains conceptual and theoretical elements. Both formal and non-formal, practical and theoretical, aspects of local knowledge are considered in this paper. The primary distinction made is between these and ‘modern scientific’ knowledge. 232

335. For the purposes of this paper, only the knowledge that is relevant to biodiversity is considered; this is also referred to as ‘local ecological knowledge’. 232

336. Local ecological knowledge is one of the fulcrums of survival of traditional societies, it is a part of their life, and impossible to separate from all other aspects of living. It is what gives them to ability to make sense of nature, to find their place and meaning within nature and in relation to each other, to derive physical, material, and cultural sustenance from nature, and to devise means by which nature can be sustained along with sustaining society. The fact that communities have survived for millennia, often in very harsh ecological and physical conditions, is in no small part due to local ecological knowledge. Even in the modern world, local ecological knowledge is crucial to help communities adapt and continue to find meaning and identity. Most commonly accepted is its role in the “traditional” or primary sectors of the economy: agriculture and pastoralism, forestry, fisheries, water, and products made from natural resources such as crafts, furniture, and housing. Given the fact that a majority of the world’s population remains dependent on these sectors for their survival and livelihoods, the incalculable contribution of local ecological knowledge is quite clear. 232

337. Though there has been a tendency amongst modern societies (and learning from them, amongst traditional ones too), to consider local ecological knowledge as ‘primitive’ and outmoded, it is increasingly clear that it has tremendous contemporary relevance. 233

338. A whole range of industrial products are dependent on or use local ecological knowledge in varying ways. This is true for sectors like textiles, pharmaceuticals, household good, and so on. Health care, through all systems of medicine, is to varying degrees of extent dependent on local ecological knowledge, or on combinations of local ecological knowledge and modern knowledge. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the majority of the world’s population (in areas like Africa, up to 80% of the population) is dependent for varying degrees on medicinal plants through traditional health care systems. Numerous studies have demonstrated the contribution that local ecological knowledge also makes to the modern pharmaceutical industry and modern health care, a contribution that may only increase as people in the western world (including westernized people in the ‘developing’ countries) become more conscious of plant-based cures. The WHO estimates that 25% of modern medicines are made from plants first used traditionally. 233

339. Services like food distribution, education, climate forecasting and warning, and community care also continue to be performed through institutions using traditional means, and in some cases even modern institutions of the government or corporate sector are discovering the value of this. Rates of maternal mortality at childbirth were reduced significantly when traditional institutions (including the traditional birth attendant) were used in combination with modern communications. 233

340. Though much more recent, there is now a growing recognition of the role that local ecological knowledge could play in humanity’s response to the gravest threat it now faces: climate change. The fact that communities have for centuries and millennia adjusted their behaviour and strategies and knowledge systems to changes in their surrounds, is central to this realisation. Communities adjust their agriculture/pastoralism/fishing and hunting-gathering to subtle or not-so-subtle changes in climate, to threats from other communities or invasions, to disease and epidemics, and so on. Traditional systems appear to be static, but they are indeed dynamic in making such adjustments. Such adaptability could be a key factor in the response that we give as a species, to the impacts of climate change, and the role that local ecological knowledge in all the sectors named above could provide the alternatives needed to build towards a more sustainable way of dealing with our atmosphere. 233

341. A key scientific question to address is how to assess unsustainability, and what indicators, criteria and methods can be used for this? Here too, traditional knowledge has a vital role, for traditional peoples and communities have used a wide range of their own indicators and methods to get an idea of sustainability. Water flows, the presence/absence or appearance/disappearance of certain species, the behaviour of domestic or wild animals, and other kinds of changes in their surrounds are used in myriad sophisticated ways to learn about ecological changes that may be detrimental or beneficial. 233

342. In all the above and many more ways, local ecological knowledge is crucial to meeting the goals of a number of international conventions and agreements, including the CBD and other environmental conventions, and the Millennium Development Goals. It is also central to the achievement of the provisions laid out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 233

343. More than ever before, local ecological knowledge faces serious levels of erosion. As the peoples and communities holding local ecological knowledge themselves face a range of threats from outright annihilation to ‘assimilation’ into ‘mainstream’ society, the knowledge they hold also slips away. A clear and alarming indicator is the threat to languages, with some scholars estimating that half of the around 6000 languages spoken today may become extinct by 2050 or 2100. A language (oral or written) is not only a means of communication between members of a people or community, it also contains within it the essence of considerable information and knowledge and wisdom of the people or community. Its loss is therefore a loss of local ecological knowledge, especially in the case where local ecological knowledge has passed down and evolved orally. 233

344. Across the world, as one model of modern education and means of mass communication spread, newer generations of traditional peoples are simply not imbibing local ecological knowledge in way that their parents or ancestors did. As growing demand for natural resources from a greedy global economy touches every community, elements of local ecological knowledge that managed to maintain sustainable levels of harvest become redundant or sidelined, and soon forgotten. Most of all, as the people in such communities themselves get amalgamated into urban-industrial sectors, they no longer have a need for local ecological knowledge ….at least not for a while till many of them find themselves cast out of the economy and adrift, but now without even their local ecological knowledge or without any natural resources to fall back on. 234

345. Intellectual property rights regimes also threaten local ecological knowledge, through piracy and wrongful claims of ownership, or through commercialization of knowledge that is held to be common (therefore freely available) or sacred. 234

346. Given the recognition that local ecological knowledge remains crucial to the goals of biodiversity conservation in particular and environmental sustainability in general, it needs to find a central place in any attempt to influence policy. For this to happen, it is essential that the currently one-sided relationship between modern scientific knowledge and local ecological knowledge, in which the former either displaces or co-opts the latter, is replaced by one that is mutually respectful and on an equal footing. Experts and advocates of both kinds of knowledge need to acknowledge the weaknesses of theirs and the strengths of the other, and explore ways to build synergies that fill each others’ gaps and enhance each others’ strong points. Given the enormous historical and cultural baggage that comes with both, and some basic differences in premise, this is of course easier said than done. For instance, the fact that local ecological knowledge explicitly combines both factual (‘what is’) and normative (‘what should be’) knowledge or opinions, is often considered by advocates of modern science as being problematic because they believe that they are ‘objectively’ dealing only with ‘facts’. But as is shown in successful attempts at combining various forms of knowledge, decision-making based on a mix of facts and values can not only be robust, but actually stronger than one based only on facts…and in any case it is disputed whether any policy decision can ever be free of value judgments. The more it is explicitly recognized that decisions involve a variety of ‘ways of seeing’, the more it will be possible to integrate, on a respectful plane, local ecological knowledge into policy-making. For instance, structured techniques used to facilitate inter-knowledge exchange for water use planning in Canada, demonstrated that both factual and value-based knowledge can actually help to improve decisions relating to environmental risk. 234

347. There are an increasing number of such initiatives at integrating local ecological knowledge into processes of gaining greater understanding of ecological issues and influencing policy. Combining the knowledge of indigenous peoples such as the Inuvaluit, with modern scientific understanding, was crucial to the ambitious Arctic Climate Impact Assessment brought out in 2004. Indigenous peoples are now conducting their own assessments in several regions of the world under the Indigenous Peoples Assessment of Climate Change process. In initiating this process, the United Nations University noted that: “Observations of ecosystem change by indigenous peoples are acting as a sentinel like warning system for climate change. More importantly, the long-term place-based adaptation approaches developed by indigenous peoples provide valuable examples for the global community of low-carbon sustainable lifestyle, critical to developing local adaptations strategies in the face of climate instability.” 234

348. Drawing from the above mentioned IMoSEB case study, examples of how traditional knowledge and expertise has been mobilised for decision making on biodiversity include the following: 234

349. According to the authors of the IMoSEB case study, the diverse range in types of tools speaks to a parallel diversity in community needs, priorities, and capacities. Importantly, no one-size-fits-all solution will or can emerge for how traditional knowledge and western science can be brought together in a synergism founded on complementarity, which ultimately is based on mutual respect for difference. Common themes that emerge from the scan include: needs for access to and exchanges of information, needs for models and templates that have been tested on-the-ground, guidance on how to engage and disengage in ethical and equitable relationships (both within and outside of communities), needs to store and manage vast amounts of information in various forms and with built-in mechanisms for multilevel or tiered access and degrees of stringency in control of information flow. While some examples used illustrate the highest levels of community control achievable, most are premised on active participation and full and active representation, working and making decisions in collaboration, co-creating and co-managing new knowledge – and ultimately, sharing power. Perhaps beyond all other hurdles to mobilizing traditional knowledge and expertise for decision-making on biodiversity, is the inherent inequity in distribution of power that stands in the way of governments, academic scientists, policy makers and others seeking meaningful collaborations with Indigenous organisations and communities. 235

350. Though initiatives at giving local ecological knowledge a more central place in research and planning are increasing, there remain a number of key gaps that need to be urgently plugged. These include: 235

351. Further integration of local ecological knowledge into the science-policy interface requires commitment of all relevant parties to at least the following: 235

A.9. Overview of a range of indicator processes on for the global biodiversity-related agreements and other related agreements and programmes 237

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