ICSM CHC White Paper I: Intangible cultural heritage, diverse knowledge systems and climate change. Contribution of Knowledge Systems Group I to the International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change

Orlove, Ben, Dawson, Neil, Sherpa, Pasang, Adelekan, Ibidun, Alangui, Wilfredo, Carmona, Rosario, Coen, Deborah, Nelson, Melissa, Reyes-García, Victoria, Rubis, Jennifer, Sanago, Gideon and Wilson, Andrew (2022) ICSM CHC White Paper I: Intangible cultural heritage, diverse knowledge systems and climate change. Contribution of Knowledge Systems Group I to the International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change. Discussion Paper. ICOMOS & ISCM CHC, Charenton-le-Pont, France & Paris, France, 103p. ISBN 978-2-918086-71-0. [Book]

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Abstract (in English)

[Executive summary] Many sources acknowledge the importance of drawing on different ways of knowing to address complex global problems, such as climate change. Recent research on plural knowledge systems to address climate change has focused primarily on three categories of knowledge: Indigenous knowledge, local knowledge, and scientific knowledge. These knowledge systems are widely represented in peer-reviewed research on climate change and in reports and documents by Indigenous organizations and NGOs. The importance of drawing on plural knowledge systems has been discussed in reports by UNESCO, the IPCC, IPBES and other organizations, with a notable increase of attention in recent years. “Knowledge system” is the most commonly used related term in these reports, but other terms—particularly, “ways of knowing”—have also been used. A number of sources have called for a transformational shift to full recognition and the inclusion—based on mutual recognition and respect—of plural knowledges in international assessments and policy frameworks, though gaps remain for putting this into practice. Recent research has emphasized diversity within Indigenous, local, and scientific knowledge, as well as the differences between these knowledge systems. Though their histories have at many points been separate, there are prior encounters and engagements that can illuminate current relationships between these knowledge systems. These earlier connections vary from efforts by colonial powers to eradicate Indigenous knowledge and the often unstated appropriation of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge to more productive collaborations, sometimes to advance Indigenous peoples and local communities. The acknowledgment of Indigenous knowledge systems in particular has been growing rapidly in peer-reviewed literature and reports by Indigenous organizations, international agencies, NGOs, and other bodies. This work provides coverage of Indigenous knowledge in all regions of the world. The literature on local knowledge, though also growing, is not as extensive. Some work points to the overlaps between Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge, and the difficulties, in some cases, of distinguishing between them. Indigenous, local, and scientific knowledge systems include both intangible elements (such as languages, concepts, beliefs, values, worldviews, and spirituality) and tangible elements (including objects, structures, landscapes, and organisms). This combination of intangible and tangible can support an engagement with the broad fields of culture (often, but not exclusively, associated with the intangible) and of heritage (where tangible elements have a more prominent role). Relatedly, recent research has emphasized a variety of forms of action as essential elements of knowledge systems; in this view, ways of knowing are also ways of being, ways of doing and making, and ways of relating and caring. A number of sources challenge the dichotomies that make a distinction between tangible and intangible or knowledge and action, proposing instead models in which these elements are seen as mutually constitutive. These sources note that in many cases, tangible and intangible elements are deeply interconnected, so that erecting a distinction between them can be arbitrary, or a misreading. Indigenous, local, and scientific knowledge systems are keenly aware of the importance of actions to address climate change at present and in the future, though these systems differ in their diagnosis of causes, as well as the pathways that should be taken in order to address these causes. The legacy of colonialism and persistent inequality also block efforts to draw on plural knowledge systems to understand and address climate change from different perspectives. Many Indigenous Peoples and local communities continue to suffer social, political, and economic discrimination (often including violence and displacement from their territories) and are most affected by environmental and climate change. The collaboration of Indigenous, local, and scientific knowledge systems is widely recognized to enhance the effectiveness of climate action. Such collaboration is compatible with maintaining the autonomy and distinctiveness of each knowledge system, and the careful design of governance mechanisms can assure the autonomy of each system while promoting their joint efficacy. Such collaborations are different from integration, the latter being a process whereby these knowledge systems are merged or hybridized into a new form. Terms such as “braiding” and “weaving” may express an interrelationship that preserves distinctiveness. The two key dimensions which support the viability and success of collaborations between knowledge systems are fullness and justice. Fullness refers to the epistemic dimension. For example, are all components of knowledge systems (observations, worldviews, practices, values) included in the collaboration? Justice refers to the ethical dimension. For example, do all holders of knowledge systems participate equitably and fairly in the processes of establishing collaborations? Do they share equitably and fairly the positive and negative outcomes of the collaborations? Are they fully recognized within the collaborations? Finally, are the necessary conditions for their engagement (full rights to their territories and languages) present? These dimensions are not separate and additive, but rather reciprocal; each is necessary for the other. Mutual recognition and respect are also key factors for successful collaborations. A number of specific tools have been developed to protect different knowledge systems, such as Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) for Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge, intellectual property rights for all knowledge systems, Indigenous data sovereignty, and other legal mechanisms, such as customary law. Formal recognition by state agencies is an important precondition to full recognition, though in some cases its effects are limited or even negative (for example, leading to surveillance and paternalistic or authoritarian control). In recent years, some studies have begun to specify the forms and nature of successful collaborations between knowledge systems, noting in particular their diversity. Studies from several regions have shown that effective collaborations often develop over a number of years or even generations, rather than on the shorter time-frame of individual projects. Some studies emphasize the value of drawing on plural knowledge systems to identify problems and possible approaches to construct solutions. Studies also indicate the need to incorporate mechanisms that guarantee fullness and justice. COP26 in Glasgow represents an advance, marking stronger recognition of Indigenous Peoples and local communities within international climate negotiations and support for collaboration between knowledge systems, though much remains to be done. The parties at COP26 agreed on a number of points which specify significant details about the need for and form of such collaborations. Nonetheless, Indigenous scholars and organizations remain marginal to key negotiations and full intercultural recognition has not been achieved. Addressing these gaps can promote the transformational change that many have called for.

Item Type: Book (Discussion Paper)
Orlove, Ben
Dawson, Neil
Sherpa, Pasang
Adelekan, Ibidun
Alangui, Wilfredo
Carmona, Rosario
Coen, Deborah
Nelson, Melissa
Reyes-García, Victoria
Rubis, Jennifer
Sanago, Gideon
Wilson, Andrew
Corporate Authors: International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change (ICSM CHC)
Languages: English
Keywords: international cooperation; climate change; knowledge systems; cultural heritage; historical perspective; justice; indigenous organizations; international organizations; case studies
Subjects: A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 01. Generalities
A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 09. Philosophy of conservation
E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 02. Theory and doctrinal texts
G.DETERIORATION > 03. Climate change
K.LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES > 06. Doctrinal texts, conventions and charters
N.ANTHROPOLOGY > 02. Ethnography
National Committee: ICOMOS International
Number of Pages: 103
ISBN: 978-2-918086-71-0
Depositing User: ICOMOS DocCentre
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2022 13:22
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2022 11:05
URI: https://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/2717

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