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Different perceptions of the relationship between biodiversity and traditional knowledge, as well as of the fairness and need for their protection and exploitation, have engendered one of the most contentious global debates of the 21st century between developed and developing countries. This debate revolves around fundamental questions about achieving economic development without sacrificing environmental and social concerns. Indeed, North-South relationships have been shaped by a long history of social and economic injustice and the natural resource-based extractive model has dominated so far for promoting economic growth. However, this development model does contribute to the depletion of biodiversity.

In this context, this international conference is devoted to reviewing and assessing ongoing efforts aiming at protecting biocultural heritage and traditional knowledge that relates to biodiversity. Its main objectives are:

  • to help clarifying the important role that biocultural diversity and traditional knowledge play in biodiversity conserving production systems,
  • to provide a critical assessment of the tools that can be used to enhance their potential contribution to the livelihood of indigenous and local communities and to conserving biodiversity.

As a matter of fact, it is at the interface between biodiversity conservation, trade and intellectual property regulation that the potential for conflicts and the need for enhancing mutual supportiveness between traditional and modern knowledge systems are higher.

Scientifc Coordinator: Claudio Chiarolla

Agenda of the day :

  • Opening and Introduction Session - Why is it important to protect traditionnal knowledge to conserve biodiversity?
  • First Session - The protection of biocultural-based products and traditional knowledge:potential synergies and conflicts
  • Second Session - Traditional knowledge and biodiversity: the role of value chains
  • Final Session - Which governance can promote endangered biocultural heritage?

With Claudio Chiarolla (Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations), Graham Dutfield (University of Leeds), Hélène Ilbert (Institut agronomique méditerranéen de Montpellier), Isle Köhler-Rollefson (League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development), Paolo Meoni (Atunis Development Services), Flavia Noejovich (Consultant), Barbara Pick (London School of Economics), Pierre du Plessis (Centre for Research Information Action in Africa - Southern African Development and Consulting, and key negotiator of the Nagoya Protocol for the African Group), Krystyna Swiderska (International Institute for Environment and Development), Brendan Tobin (Griffith Law School).

Material & Videos

Download Detailed programme

The series of conferences on biodiversity and ecosystems organised by IDDRI and the Fondation d' entreprise Hermès aims to contribute to making biodiversity a real issue for society, by opening up debates beyond purely expert circles.

It was launched with an inaugural conference on 16 February 2010 at the musée du quai Branly (Paris) entitled "Biodiversity 2010 and beyond? ».