Knowledge Systems, Knowledge Diversity, Knowledge Societies: Towards a UNESCO Policy on Engaging with Indigenous Peoples

© Paule GROS
A Mayangna woman shares her knowledge about the fish she has caught, a mupih, the common snook (Centropomus undecimalis).

In the framework of the 10th Anniversary of the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity and to mark the Celebration of World Science Day 2011 for Peace and Development, UNESCO is organizing a Side Event on 10 November from 1:20 to 3:00 PM in Room IX.

The event, hosted by Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO and co-chaired by Ms. Gretchen Kalonji, Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences and Ms Pilar Alvarez-Laso, Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences, will feature indigenous spokespersons at the highest-level from the three foremost UN institutions dealing with the rights of Indigenous Peoples: Mr James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms Myrna Cunningham, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and Mr. Vital Bambanze, Chair, UN Expert Mechanism on Indigenous Peoples. Welcome refreshments will be served from 1:00 pm. Addresses and discussions will take place from 1:20-3:00 pm.

UNESCO has broad mandates in the fields of education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. Its policies, programmes and projects provide opportunities and have significant impacts (positive and negative) for indigenous peoples worldwide. Today, policy frameworks and standards for human rights and development are evolving rapidly. In particular, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007, while in 2008 the UN Development Group (UNDG) issued the UNDG Guidelines on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues. Indigenous peoples, governments and other actors legitimately demand that UN agencies take clear policy positions in relation to indigenous peoples’ rights and issues as they relate to their respective mandates. UNESCO will similarly embark on a process to elaborate a house-wide policy on engaging with Indigenous Peoples. This event launches UNESCO’s work on developing such a policy.

Live Webcast (from 1:30 to 3:00):
English - mms://
French - mms://
Spanish - mms://


Type of Event Special Event
Start 10.11.2011 12:00 local time
End 10.11.2011 14:00 local time
Date to be fixed 0
Focal point Nakashima, Douglas
Organizer Intersectoral Task Team on Indigenous Issues
Country France
City Paris
Venue UNESCO Headquarters
Street 7, place de Fontenoy
Room Room IX
Permanent Delegation Contact
Major Programme
Language of Event English, French
Estimated number of participants 100
Official Website
Link 1 Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Link 2 Live Webcast
Link 3
Link 4