Intangible cultural heritage, diverse knowledge systems and climate change

Related GLP Member: Neil Dawson

A new report co-sponsored by the IPCC, UNESCO and ICOMOS highlights the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ knowledge systems and their full and equitable inclusion within policy processes as a means to transform climate governance. The authors, including Indigenous scholars, draw on diverse sources to illustrate the dynamism, contemporary relevance and resilience of Indigenous and local knowledge systems, as active forms of governance and management. 

The legacy of colonialism and persistent inequality still marginalise diverse knowledge systems, to the extent that increased recognition of and equitable collaboration between them could be a potentially transformative advance in climate and environmental governance.

At local levels more effective climate action could be achieved through securing rights to Indigenous territories and supporting customary institutions. National climate strategies and Nationally Determined Contributions should include customary governance and local stewardship as vehicles for delivering sustainable emissions levels. At international level, the UNFCCC should elevate the role of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP), and facilitate more direct resourcing of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to support the application and resilience of diverse knowledge systems.

Read an accompanying news story, "Indigenous knowledge lauded for climate policy"