Indigenous and Local Knowledge within the IPBES Process

Last changed: 10 November 2017

IPBES is an international intergovernmental platform aimed at strengthening the interplay between knowledge and political decisions on biodiversity, human wellbeing and ecosystem services for sustainable use of Earth's resources. Integrating indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) with "conventional" scientific ecological knowledge is one of the most important building blocks in this process.

In this study it is primarily IPBES as a "cultural phenomenon" that is studied, with focus on IPBES’ aim to integrate ILK in their assessments and organizational structure. Some of the questions asked are: How are categories, such as “Indigenous and Local Knowledge” and “Western Knowledge” (or “Scientific Knowledge”) perceived, constructed and negotiated within the IPBES-process? What is the wider consequences of this act of classifying knowledge? The aim of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of how ILK, as a discourse, shape the perception of Indigenous Peoples and their relation to land, but also how this discourse tap into ethnic mobilizations, political strategies and conditions for Indigenous peoples’ involvement in the management of their traditional territories. An analytical framework inspired by post-colonial writings will be applied. The project uses an ethnographic methodology in which field studies and semi-structured interviews are in focus.


Carina Green, Researcher at Swedish Biodiversity , SLU 
Telephone: +46 18-672737