Cultural Identity & Knowledge

80% of global biodiversity is located within the territories of indigenous and tribal forest peoples who have been using their own systems –based on traditional knowledge, practices, rules and beliefs– to sustainably manage the environment for generations. However, the general discourse on nature, ecosystems, and landscapes is still largely dominated by scientific knowledge systems and worldviews, marginalising local voices and further excluding people from the decisions that shape their lands, lives and futures.

We work with forest peoples at the local, regional, and international levels to promote their approaches to socio-ecological well-being and biodiversity stewardship by:

  • assisting communities to document knowledge and cultural elements, and produce and contribute their own information, case studies and other materials;
  • providing financial and institutional support at the local level to promote activities related to traditional occupations, and the transmission of knowledge, skills and practices;
  • facilitating a global network of indigenous-led organisations to engage with policy processes and address community priorities as well as contemporary challenges;
  • advocating in international arenas to transform the paradigm on traditional knowledge in key standards, laws, and institutions.

The linkages between cultural, biological and knowledge diversity are part of complex interrelated socio-ecological systems in which indigenous and local knowledge, cosmology and epistemology play important roles and contributions. Strengthening the culture and knowledge bases of communities ensures better informed environmental governance, contributing to effective conservation, sustainable resource-use, and the resilience, livelihoods, and well-being of communities.


Our Human Rights Work

Land, Forests & Territories | Global Finance & Trade | Law & Policy Collaborations