Safeguarding local wisdom

A website on indigenous knowledge

Published: Tuesday 15 October 2002


Indigenous knowledge (IK) is non-formal, local, traditional or ecological knowledge. It refers to bodies of knowledge, know-how, practices and representations that are maintained and developed by peoples with long histories of close interaction with the natural environment. Despite the fact that links between indigenous knowledge (IK) and science are being established, IK is under threat as never before.

The has launched this dossier with the intention to contribute to the exchange of information on IK by providing relevant annotated links to external websites, offering access to discussion groups and to electronic versions of key reports and documents within the field of IK. The dossier also addresses key issues relating to the possible contribution of IK to development and science. It does this by presenting the experiences and perspectives of people who are working in the field through analytical policy briefs and topical opinion articles. One of the major prerequisites for the entire process of collecting, applying and disseminating IK is the full participation of the local people. IK is disappearing because the capacity and facilities needed to document, evaluate, validate, protect and disseminate such knowledge are lacking in the South. Capacity building is, therefore, a key issue and vital if traditional knowledge systems are to be sustained.

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