23.06.2011 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

National Workshop for Promoting Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) programmes in Timor Leste, from 7 to 8 June 2011

Ms. Kirsty Sword-Gusmão, the Chairperson of Timor Leste National Commission for UNESCO delivered an opening speech (©UNESCO/Estradivari)

Timor Leste National Commission for UNESCO and the Haburas Foundation hosted a two-day National Workshop titled "Indigenous Knowledge, an Asset for Development" on 7-8 June 2011 at the Hak Meeting Room in Dili, Timor Leste.

For the first time in Timor Leste, a wide range of stakeholders gathered together to share information on and to discuss traditional ecological knowledge from various perspectives: land management, nature conservation, cultural practices and natural resource management.

Opened by Ms. Kirsty Sword-Gusmão, the Chairperson of Timor Leste National Commission for UNESCO and Mr. Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho, the Director of Haburas Foundation, the workshop was attended by approximately 50 participants representing government officials, international and local NGOs, UN agencies, educational institutions, experts, and community leaders.

The workshop programme included 13 (thirteen) presentations. The discussions that followed the presentations addressed on the following issues:

  • The benefits of using indigenous knowledge for sustainable development
  • The challenges of maintaining indigenous knowledge in the context of rapid societal changes
  • Steps needed to preserve and promote indigenous knowledge in Timor Leste
  • Steps to ensure the integration of indigenous knowledge in the national development.

Recommendations and action plans will be prepared by Haburas Foundation, in close consultation with UNESCO Office Jakarta. For UNESCO Jakarta, this workshop is an important first step in its efforts to strengthen and revitalize traditional ecological knowledge in Timor Leste and at the same time to develop a strategy and an action plan for implementing activities under UNESCO’s intersectoral programmes on Small Island Development States (SIDS) and Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) for the biennia 2010-2011 and 2012-2013.

Following the workshop, the Haburas Foundation will prepare papers for a book publication resulting from papers presented. The book will be a joint publication between Haburas Foundation, Timor Leste National Commission for UNESCO, and UNESCO Office Jakarta. This publication will be written in Tetum and is expected to be available for dissemination by the end of year 2011.

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