Local & Indigenous Knowledge

Blowing of the traditional horn in Samoa © UNESCO/A.Esquivel

Sophisticated knowledge of the natural world is not limited to natural sciences. Local and indigenous knowledge refers to the understandings, skills and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings. Promoting the use of this knowledge in sustainable development is a core mandate of UNESCO.

In the Pacific islands, vast bodies of knowledge, know-how and practices have been built up over centuries and include, for example, naming and classfication systems or resource-use practices. The UNESCO Apia Office engages actively in the promotion of these knowledge systems throughout all sectors.



 Projects and activities:

The Apia Science sector provided input for the 2013 Culture publication Traditional Knowledge for Adapting to Climate Change, underlining the importance of inter-sectoral work withing UNESCO


Indigenous Knowledge Posters: a series of seven posters published in local Pacific languages


Echoes at Fishermen's Rock - a volume on traditional fishing in Tokelau and a result of the intiative of Elders from Atafu atoll


The Canoe is the People: an interactive resource on traditional navigation in the Pacific


Traditional Knowledge Calendars for Informing Climate Change Policies


Climate Frontlines: an internet discussion forum for indigenous peoples, small islands and local communities


Reef and Rainforest: a number of resources on the environment and people of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands

Traditional Warning Signs for Cyclones in the Cook Islands: a video documentary for using local and indigenous knowledge for cyclone prediction

If you are interested in finding out more about this topic, have a look at UNESCO's Local and Indigenous Knowledge (LINKS) programme.

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