Africa: Biodiversity Panel Gives Indigenous Knowledge Core Role

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At the Antalya meeting, IPBES also decided on two fast-track assessments to be completed this year. One will be on pollination and its relationship to food security, the other will review the tools available to predict future changes to biodiversity and ecosystem services based on various social and economic scenarios.

In addition, the indigenous people at the meeting formed a group called the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IIFBES).

This new forum is intended to allow indigenous and local knowledge holders to coordinate contributions to the work programme by reaching out to existing organisations and facilitating access to IPBES structures and activities, says Joji Cariño, director of the Forest Peoples Programme, an NGO that advocates forest management based on indigenous knowledge.

"For example, the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty, which has an Indigenous Peoples' Pollinators Initiative in India, Kenya and Ethiopia, was linked to IPBES, to facilitate its contributions to the IPBES fast-track assessment on pollination and pollinators associated with food production," she adds.

At the Antalya meeting, IPBES also decided to develop a capacity building programme, including the provision of fellowships and training programmes, designed to ensure that scientists from all regions of the world are engaged at an equal level. The training and fellowships will be targeted at developing world scientists, including young researchers.

The capacity building plans will "allow input from everyone, not only northern countries where most of the funding resources are, but not the biodiversity itself", says Larigauderie.

"One important principle is that capacity building activities will not be run independently of the work programme, but will form an integral part of the core implementation of IPBES," she adds.

Nakashima tells SciDev.Net that the platform's real challenge will be whether it can use its resources and aspiration to produce concrete results.

And Cariño says: "If successful, this will be a hallmark achievement of IPBES to be truly multidisciplinary, embracing knowledge diversity."

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