World Conference on Science - Budapest 1999

The results of the Conference are embodied in two principal documents:

Declaration on Science

and the

Use of Scientific Knowledge and the Science Agenda - Framework for Action.


Extracts pertaining to traditional and local knowledge from the:
Declaration On Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge

Par. 26. Considering ...that traditional and local knowledge systems as dynamic expressions of perceiving and understanding the world, can make and historically have made, a valuable contribution to science and technology, and that there is a need to preserve, protect, research and promote this cultural heritage and empirical knowledge,...

Par. 38. Intellectual property rights need to be appropriately protected on a global basis, and access to data and information is essential for undertaking scientific work and for translating the results of scientific research into tangible benefits for society. ... There is also a need to further develop appropriate national legal frameworks to accommodate the specific requirements of developing countries and traditional knowledge, sources and products, to ensure their recognition and adequate protection on the basis of the informed consent of the customary or traditional owners of this knowledge.



Extracts pertaining to traditional and local knowledge from the:
Introductory note to the Science Agenda-Framework for Action

Par. 35. Modern science does not constitute the only form of knowledge, and closer links need to be established between this and other forms, systems and approaches to knowledge, for their mutual enrichment and benefit. A constructive inter-cultural debate is in order, to help find ways of better linking modern science to the broader knowledge heritage of humankind.

Par. 36. Traditional societies, many of them with strong cultural roots, have nurtured and refined systems of knowledge of their own, relating to such diverse domains as astronomy, meteorology, geology, ecology, botany, agriculture, physiology, psychology and health. Such knowledge systems represent an enormous wealth. Not only do they harbour information as yet unknown to modern science, but they are also expressions of other ways of living in the world, other relationships between society and nature, and other approaches to the acquisition and construction of knowledge. Special action must be taken to conserve and cultivate this fragile and diverse world heritage, in the face of globalization and the growing dominance of a single view of the natural world as espoused by science. A closer linkage between science and other knowledge systems is expected to bring important advantages to both sides.



Extracts pertaining to traditional and local knowledge from the:
Science Agenda-Framework For Action

Par. 32. Modern scientific knowledge and traditional knowledge should be brought closer together in interdisciplinary projects dealing with the links between culture, environment and development in such areas as the conservation of biological diversity, management of natural resources, understanding of natural hazards and mitigation of their impact. Local communities and other relevant players should be involved in these projects. Individual scientists and the scientific community have the responsibility to communicate in popular language the scientific explanations of these issues and the ways in which science can play a key role in addressing them.

Par. 33. Governments, in co-operation with universities and higher education institutions, and with the help of relevant United Nations organizations, should extend and improve education, training and facilities for human resources development in environment-related sciences, utilizing also traditional and local knowledge. Special efforts in this respect are required in developing countries with the co-operation of the international community.


Section 3.4 Modern science and other systems of knowledge

Par. 83. Governments are called upon to formulate national policies that allow a wider use of the applications of traditional forms of learning and knowledge, while at the same time ensuring that its commercialization is properly rewarded.

Par. 84. Enhanced support for activities at the national and international levels on traditional and local knowledge systems should be considered.

Par. 85. Countries should promote better understanding and use of traditional knowledge systems, instead of focusing only on extracting elements for their perceived utility to the S&T system. Knowledge should flow simultaneously to and from rural communities

Par. 86. Governmental and non-governmental organizations should sustain traditional knowledge systems through active support to the societies that are keepers and developers of this knowledge, their ways of life, their languages, their social organization and the environments in which they live, and fully recognize the contribution of women as repositories of a large part of traditional knowledge.

Par. 87. Governments should support cooperation between holders of traditional knowledge and scientists to explore the relationships between different knowledge systems and to foster inter-linkages of mutual benefit.

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