Background

Summary

The Nature and Culture Summit is held under the auspices of the Joint Programme of Work between the Convention on Biological Diversity and UNESCO on the Links between Biological and Cultural Diversity (2001-2020).

The Summit is an invitation to States, stakeholders and specialized agencies to reflect on the achievements made over the last decade on finding synergies between biological and cultural diversity, between science and indigenous knowledge systems. There has been a flourishing of innovative approaches that mobilize communities and knowledge-holders to help conserve the life fabric of our planet. The Summit is an opportunity for reflection, dialogue and developing ways of cooperation as we move forward into the post-2020 period and towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

As recognized by the 2010 International Conference on biological and cultural diversity for development, which led to the creation of the joint programme, the loss of biological diversity is linked to a corresponding loss of cultural diversity, encompassing, inter alia, languages as repositories of knowledge and practices, tangible and intangible heritage related to nature, modes of subsistence, economic and social relations and belief systems. Understanding the relationship between biological and cultural diversity is essential for both the survival of humanity and the diversity of life on our planet. Living in harmony with nature, a central element of many indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ cultures, is also the 2050 vision of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2010-2010 adopted at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10). Reaching this vision requires embracing human cultural diversity and acknowledging the intimate relationship between nature and people. According to the multi-year programme of work of the Conference of the Parties up to 2020, approaches to living in harmony with nature are expected to be considered at COP 14, as a contribution to the development of the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.

The Nature and Culture Summit will offer a great opportunity for participants from around the world to reflect on the contributions of many indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs), Parties, International Organizations, Government to the conservation of nature, ecosystems-based adaptation and sustainable use of biodiversity. It is an opportunity for the science community to share its experiences of cooperation, complementarity and coproduction with indigenous and local knowledge holders. Participants will also be able to learn more about the importance of respecting, preserving, maintaining, promoting and using traditional knowledge to address some of the global problems facing humankind.

Egypt, host country of the UN Biodiversity Conference 2018 (COP 14, COP-MOP 9 and COP-MOP 3), holds great cultural and biological patrimony and is a leader of the African Continent, which in turn is often referred to as the Cradle of Humanity. The Nature and Culture Summit will culminate with a cultural celebration of nature and culture, led by Egypt. With the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the International Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network (IWBN), the event will specifically highlight the role of women in the conservation of biocultural diversity.

The outcomes of the Summit will contribute to COP 14 through a statement to be presented at the Plenary with a view to raise awareness on the importance of biocultural diversity to the success of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework. The Summit will also contribute to the interactive dialogue on Living in Harmony with Nature which will be facilitated during the COP plenary.

Objectives

  • To bring together diverse actors working on biological and cultural diversity to explore lessons learnt, progress made in the last decade and new types of synergies between science and traditional knowledge;
  • To reflect on lessons learnt from the Joint Programme of Work on the Links between Biological and Cultural Diversity for Biodiversity;
  • To improve understand on the links between biological and cultural diversity for the development and implementation of the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework, and towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement;
  • To promote awareness on the potential of indigenous peoples and local communities conservation areas (ICCAs), protected areas, biosphere reserves, World Heritage sites and sacred natural sites as living examples of biocultural diversity;
  • To share experiences on the protection and promotion of traditional knowledge and customary sustainable use of biodiversity;
  • To promote and draw attention to the importance of the mutually supportive roles of women, men, elders, and youth of indigenous peoples and local communities in the use, management and conservation of biodiversity, as well as in the transmission and protection of traditional knowledge and culture;
  • To exchange experiences on integrating the links between biological and cultural diversity into policies across various sectors (environment, culture, education, health, food production, conservation, and others).

Participants

The Nature and Culture Summit will bring together representatives of Parties, indigenous peoples, local communities, civil society and international organizations, among others. It will highlight the experiences of indigenous peoples and local communities from the African region but not exclusively. All world regions will be represented with a special emphasis on women and youth. All interested participants should register and complete the online forms, as announced in the notification available Here.

Methodology
The Summit will use a participatory approach and includes the following activities:

Webinar Preparatory Session

Confirmed registered participants will be invited to attend a webinar session on preparation for the Summit. This will provide an overview, general information and logistical requirements for the Summit (including for the field trip on 22 November). The webinar is planned on November 6 2018.

Visit to a protected area

The Summit will begin with a field visit to a protected area, Ras Mohamed National Park. Participants will have an opportunity to experience traditional food and handicraft on a Bedouin camp, where they can exchange ideas on collective actions related to the objectives of the Convention which demonstrate the links between biological and cultural diversity, traditional knowledge, and customary sustainable use of biodiversity.

Panel discussions and roundtables

Each panel will be facilitated by an expert, who will provide an introduction to the issues and serve as a moderator for the duration of the panel and record main messages. All panels will be regionally and gender balanced. Interpretation will be provided in English, French, Arabic and Spanish throughout the programme. The themes are:

  • Bringing together divergent agendas on Biological and Cultural Diversity and Visioning the Future – Living in Harmony with Nature;
  • Does Nature and Culture need Half?: community conservation approaches that enhance biocultural diversity;
  • Connecting people and place: an exchange on biocultural indicators;
  • Human rights for thriving indigenous peoples, local communities and healthy ecosystems.
Possible links between biological and cultural diversity that each panel may explore include but are not limited to:

  • Languages and Linguistic Diversity
  • Material Culture
  • Knowledge, Technology and Innovation
  • Modes of subsistence/Traditional Occupations and Livelihoods
  • Land/sea use and management
  • Plant/animal domestication and selective breeding
  • Social and Economic Relations
  • Belief Systems and the Spiritual and Cultural Values of Biodiversity
All these panels should be regional and gender balanced. Interpretation will be provided in English, French and Spanish throughout the programme.

Discussions
After each panel there will be interactions with the audience through methodology to promote participation ("fishbowl" discussion groups, etc.).

Outcomes

The Summit is expected to develop and adopt a declaration which will provide concrete recommendations on how to incorporate lessons learned from the links between biological and cultural diversity to improve conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, enhance sustainable development and contribute to action on climate change. The recommendations will also address the importance of respecting, preserving, maintaining, promoting and using traditional knowledge, innovations and practices in the management of local ecosystems and respecting the rights of IPLCs while promoting cultural and biological diversity. This declaration will contribute to the development of the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.

Partners and Financial Support

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme