Monday 22 January: Environmental Change and Indigenous Knowledge

What's on Agenda?

The first day of the programme will focus on the main topic of the meeting. The day includes sessions with keynote speeches and panel discussions on Arctic environmental change and indigenous knowledge. The latter theme is complemented with audit cases and SAI practices.


Arctic Environmental Change

The Arctic environment is changing rapidly. Recent studies show that the Arctic area is warming nearly four times faster than other regions in the world, shrinking the snow and ice cover in permafrost areas. This accelerates global warming and affects the environmental change.  The changing environment is threat for the Arctic nature, which is despite the harsh conditions a home for more than 21,000 known species that have adapted to cold.

The increasing global interest in the region and its natural resources can also override both the environmental concerns and the interests of local and indigenous peoples. To secure sustainable development in the Arctic area, it is important to pay attention to long-term impacts with inclusive solutions and dynamic relationships between various SDGs. The aim of the Assembly is to familiarize participants with the question of Arctic environment amid growing geopolitical interest in the region. The Arctic affects the global environment and is a topical laboratory on the impacts of climate change and possibilities to adapt to them.


Indigenous Knowledge

Indigenous people include cultural groups and their descendants who have a historical continuity or association with the region. Around the world they have preserved distinctive understandings on natural environment and specific ecosystems, which is rooted in cultural experience. Indigenous knowledge, also called traditional knowledge, is collective, experiential, and intergenerational, and therefore in many ways different from other knowledge systems.

Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, both the Aichi Targets up to 2020 and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Targets for 2030 acknowledge the traditional knowledge. As the world is facing pressing global problems related to climate change and biodiversity loss, indigenous knowledge can be an important source of information for example on nature-based solutions. Consequently, indigenous knowledge could help getting into terms with changing environment.


Indigenous Knowledge: Audit Cases and SAI Practices

To complement the discussion, Secretariat called for audit cases and examples on integrating the indigenous knowledge. This session introduces the participants on how 1) SAIs have assessed whether and how governments include indigenous knowledge in their policies and their implementation, and 2) SAIs have integrated indigenous knowledge in their organizations or audit work.

Selected audit cases/examples will be presented during the session. All received or presented audit cases are listed below.

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