Local and Indigenous Knowledge

©F.R. Hickey
Leaf sailing in canoe

Sophisticated knowledge of the natural world is not confined to science. Societies from all parts of the world possess rich sets of experience, understanding and explanation. Local and indigenous knowledge refers to the understandings, skills and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings. For rural and indigenous peoples, local knowledge informs decision-making about fundamental aspects of day-to-day life.

This knowledge is integral to a cultural complex that also encompasses language, systems of classification, resource use practices, social interactions, ritual and spirituality. These unique ways of knowing are important facets of the world’s cultural diversity, and provide a foundation for locally-appropriate sustainable development.

The Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) programme is a UNESCO interdisciplinary initiative that brings together expertise from the Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, Communication & Information and Education.


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