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Home > Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems in a Global Society (LINKS) - Updated: 28-08-2002 3:51 pm
Intersectoral website on LINKS (under construction). As a cross-cutting intersectoral project, launched in 2002, LINKS brings together all five programme sectors of UNESCO in a collaborative effort on local and indigenous knowledge.  

The project’s primary goals include:
  • Strengthening local community control over processes of ecological, cultural and social change. Synergies between indigenous and scientific knowledge are being explored in order to enhance biological and cultural diversity, reinforce equity in resource governance and strengthen comprehensive cultural, social and environmental impact assessments.

  • Revitalizing traditional knowledge transmission within local communities by strengthening ties between elders and youth and evaluating the opportunities and constraints of existing educational frameworks.

  • Identifying customary rules and processes that govern knowledge access and control, in order to inform efforts to develop appropriate normative instruments for protecting traditional knowledge.



In terms of implementation, the LINKS initiative involves several UNESCO field offices (including those in Apia, Bangkok, Montevideo and Moscow) as well as the various programme sectors. Assessment missions focusing on poverty alleviation through sustainable resource use planning have been completed for indigenous Mayanga/Moskito knowledge in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, Nicaragua, and for farmers’ knowledge in Charan, Bangladesh. Consultations with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre indicate concern about school curricula that may undermine indigenous knowledge of value for customary resource management.

Information on traditional knowledge of navigation has been compiled (in the form of text, image,audio-video), using internet-based databases with expert inputs from New Zealand, Guam and Samoa. Missions to the Cook Islands, with the Cook Island Voyaging Society, and to Satawal, supported by the Federated States of Micronesia and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France), have provided digital footage of navigators’ knowledge. These data contribute to the second CD-ROM in the LINKS series that uses NICTs as a tool for indigenous knowledge revitalization. An international seminar organized by CNRS in association with LINKS on “NGOs, Indigenous Peoples and Local Knowledge” was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in May 2002.

An extrabudgetary request has been prepared for a UNDP/GEF-associated project on equitable resource governance among the indigenous Even and Koryak peoples in Kamchatka (Russian Federation) whose homeland is also a World Heritage site. Another proposal concerning customary resource management in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Palau is being discussed with UNEP/GEF, Vanuatu Cultural Centre, University of Bergen and other centres of knowledge and expertise. An associate expert post has been created for the LINKS project and is now seeking a government sponsor. A six-month internship provided by Canada has allowed a young person from the Blackfoot First Nation to gain international experience while assisting the LINKS endeavour.

In terms of further information, a website is currently under construction (http://www.unesco.org/links). A printed brochure on LINKS will be available during the Indigenous Knowledge side event being organized by UNESCO-LINKS and partner organizations in Johannesburg on 29 August.


Contact First Name Douglas Nakashima


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