Friday, January 25, 2013

IPBES-1 day four

Scientists are not the only knowledge holders 

Other than global climate change, one could argue that the global biodiversity crisis is foremost a collection of local crises. In this spirit, IPBES wants to incorporate a strong focus on local and indigenous knowledge. Though this has been widely agreed upon there does not seem to be a clear path as to how to integrate different knowledge system into a science-policy platform. Some side events dealt with this topic and more workshops will follow in the intersessional period but it will certainly be one of the most difficult tasks in the agenda of IPBES to achieve. A reflection that this process is only just starting is the fact that there is no candidate for the MEP who is actually a knowledge holder of another sort than scientific. And it seems that there is not even someone with a scientific background who is experienced with a multidisciplinary approach that bridges knowledge systems.

How does a regularly trained scientist incorporate indigenous, traditional, local knowledge in an assessment? How do you judge the quality of local knowledge, something that is already hart in science? Do you judge at all – or is this already the wrong approach when the aim is to integrate a different knowledge system that has different criteria for quality? I certainly do not have answers but am really looking forward to see what this part of the IPBES process will bring.

 What about the scientific knowledge holders? How can we contribute to make sure that the most capable scientists are going to participate in IPBES to make it a highly accepted endeavour? As IPBES is set up as an intergovernmental platform national science agencies or environmental ministries are probably the most straight forward path of organizing participation. However, many of the members of The International Biogeography Society as well as from the other international and national science organisations are potential contributors to the assessments. Thus these science organisations might offer a different path. During the intersessional process stakeholder engagement will be organised and of course the IBS is free to get involved.

—Lars Opgenoorth 

No comments: