5 April 2018
The value of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) has been highlighted in a summary for policymakers addressing land degradation and restoration around the world from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an international body of 129 member countries that assesses the state of the world’s biodiversity and ecosystems and their benefits to people. The sixth annual IPBES plenary meeting was recently held in Medellín, Colombia. Dr Ro Hill from CSIRO attended as a Member of the IPBES Indigenous and Local Knowledge Expert Taskforce, with key roles in supporting science and IEK collaboration. Ngan’gi seasons calendar from NT’s Daly River region was featured as an example of how the depth and detail of Indigenous peoples’ knowledge and stewardship of country, in collaboration with science, can help prevent degradation and restore landscapes. Dr Ro Hill is leading a NESP Hub project on Knowledge brokering for Indigenous land managers that is currently working to improve collaboration between Indigenous knowledge and science at the local scale, and provide lessons for global efforts. According to Ro, the Weaving Knowledge Systems paper published in Sustainability Science last year from their NESP project, demonstrating the vital roles of institutions, actors and intercultural processes to support knowledge collaboration, was instrumental in overcoming the formidable barriers to inclusion of the seasonal calendar in the IPBES Assessment. The Ngan’gi seasons calendar, along with other Indigenous seasonal calendars, have been produced by the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) consortium and/or NERP Northern Hub in collaboration with CSIRO. Professor Sue Jackson from Griffith University is leading a NESP Hub project – Indigenous water needs of WA’s Fitzroy River – that is, amongst other things, currently working to produce a calendar representing the knowledge of Nyikina Mangala native title holders in the lower Fitzroy River valley. According to Sue, calendars have proven to be a very appealing way of revealing social, ecological and hydrological relationships and we are researching ways to ensure that they can inform water allocation planning as well as support Indigenous management of the river.
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