On December 4, 2020 the GEF held its consultations with civil society and indigenous peoples and local communities on "The Application of Traditional Knowledge by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, Stewards of the Global Environment."
These consultations are organized by the GEF Secretariat in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group (IPAG), the GEF Small Grants Programme and the GEF CSO Network. The consultations aim at bringing the voices of indigenous peoples and local communities in a dialogue with civil society, GEF Council members, GEF Agencies, the GEF Secretariat, and other stakeholders to discuss the value of traditional knowledge in supporting the conservation of biodiversity, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and combating other global and local threats, including responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since its inception, the GEF has provided considerable support for indigenous peoples and traditional knowledge. The GEF Council recognized the importance of this issue and requested this consultation be undertaken to highlight practical examples.
The consultations were held in the long shadow of the enormous global effects of COVID-19 which has had devastating impacts on people around the world, and also with particular and significant impact for indigenous peoples. These consultations highlighted how COVID-19 has been affecting indigenous peoples and how the application of traditional knowledge can address and provide solutions to the coronavirus challenge as a key element of a green recovery plan.
The objectives of the consultations are to:
- highlight the role of traditional knowledge in assisting indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) to achieve sustainable development, biodiversity conservation, and in combating land degradation and climate change;
- showcase examples of the application of traditional knowledge from GEF projects around the world, including the GEF’s Inclusive Conservation Initiative and draw lessons to inform implementation of the program;
- allow for inputs from GEF Council members, partners, and key stakeholders, to identify practical actions to better support the application of traditional knowledge within the GEF; and
- highlight the challenges and risks of COVID-19 for indigenous peoples and outline how traditional knowledge can assist indigenous peoples in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.