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UNU Book Presents Case Studies on Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity

February 2013: A new book published by the United Nations University - Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) includes case studies on biodiversity and traditional knowledge provided by several Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs), which highlight the way traditional and indigenous knowledge on biodiversity is increasingly recognized in a variety of social, cultural, economic and environmental contexts, and further demonstrates the links between biological and cultural diversity.

Titled "Innovation in Local and Global Learning Systems for Sustainability: Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity: Learning Contributions of the Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development," the book raises important questions for further research and for the development of policies that can better reflect a more integrated approach to dealing with biodiversity - an approach that takes the cultural element of sustainable development into account. The publication argues that the education and learning experiences conducted in the context of the RCEs reveal how artificial the separation of biodiversity knowledge from culture can be. It is only through a process of co-learning among all stakeholders concerned with biodiversity - each representing a cultural perspective - that appropriate biodiversity and ecosystem services policies can be co-designed. Case studies are organized under the following sections: learning for conservation and revitalization of natural and cultural resources; ecosystem services and sustainable use; co-engaged learning practices for equity, livelihoods and development; monitoring, documentation, protection, and education; and worldviews and integration.

The RCEs were developed as sites for participatory learning and action within the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, opening up more collaborative and inclusive learning spaces in support of more just and sustainable ways of life. The case studies examined in this publication demonstrate the need for three key approaches to ensure education for sustainable development is successful. First, the need for "learning by doing," second the value of learning from practitioners, and third, the importance of collective interventions. [Publication: Innovation in Local and Global Learning Systems for Sustainability: Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity: Learning contributions of the Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development]