08.08.2011 - Natural Sciences Sector

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is officially commemorated on 9 August annually in recognition of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva in 1982. This year’s theme is "Indigenous designs: celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future". This theme highlights the need for preservation and revitalization of indigenous cultures, including their art and intellectual property.

Indigenous peoples hold some of the keys to tackling global challenges. As we strive to foster sustainable and equitable development, it is vital we listen to the voices of indigenous peoples and that we learn from their knowledge. UNESCO's Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems programme (LINKS) seeks global recognition of the importance of indigenous knowledge for understanding the impacts of climate change and for developing ways to adapt at the community level.

Societies from all parts of the world possess rich sets of experience, understanding and explanation. However, differences between scientific and indigenous worldviews continue to create barriers to meaningful collaboration, as does the widespread assumption that science is superior to other knowledge systems.

LINKS aims to strengthen dialogue, mutual understanding and partnerships among local knowledge holders, local communities and scientists and policy-makers. The LINKS project elaborates guidelines and policies that support the effective inclusion of local and indigenous knowledge, and of local and indigenous communities, in decision-making and implementation processes to strengthen science and education as tools for community-driven sustainable development and poverty eradication.

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