Indigenous knowledge, people and nature – all crucial to Kunming: Make Change Happen podcast episode 11

In this episode of Make Change happen, we explore the concept of 'biocultural heritage', which comes from the lived experience of Indigenous Peoples, and is critical to the success of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework up for negotiation in Kunming later this year.

Article, 26 April 2021

IIED’s ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast provides an opportunity to hear our researchers and guests discuss key global development challenges and explain what we are doing to support positive change. 

In this episode, we learn about the term 'biocultural heritage' and discuss the benefits of recognising and applying Indigenous knowledge to biodiversity conservation.

Hosted by Liz Carlile, this podcast features IIED’s principal researcher Krystyna Swiderska; Alejandro Argumedo, Quechua native from southern Peru and coordinator of the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP); Pierre Du Plessis, expert advisor in the Convention on Biological Diversity from Namibia; and Joji Carino, Ibaloi Igorot from the Philippines, senior policy advisor with Forest Peoples programme, and Indigenous Peoples’ negotiator on biodiversity.

Introducing Indigenous knowledge in policymaking

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) have been the guardians of biodiversity for thousands of years. As a result, today, IPLCs conserve the world’s richest biodiversity on their lands and territories using a holistic approach that brings together their biological and cultural legacy: wild and domesticated biodiversity, traditional knowledge, cultural and spiritual values, customary laws and traditional languages.

The belief in a unified biocultural heritage has allowed Indigenous Peoples to develop successful and long-term strategies for biodiversity conservation.  

As the UN biodiversity convention and the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework approach, this episode of Make Change Happen advocates for the rights of Indigenous People and Local Communities to be recognised, and for Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge to be considered at the centre of global governance and policymaking efforts.

Find out more by listening to the episode.

Additional resources:


Head and shoulders photo of Krystyna Swiderska

Krystyna Swiderska is principal researcher in IIED’s Natural Resources research group. She is an expert in traditional knowledge and biocultural heritage of Indigenous peoples and local communities. 

Head and shoulders photo of Alejandro Argumedo

Alejandro Argumedo is programme director of Asociacion ANDES. He is coordinator of the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP) and collaborates with various networks of Indigenous communities that promote biodiversity and the sustainable management of natural resources.

Head and shoulders photo of Pierre du Plessis

Pierre du Plessis is technical advisor to the African Union Continental Coordination Committee on biodiversity, biosafety and access and benefit sharing. He was one of Africa’s lead advisors during the development of the 2010 Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing and has worked with Indigenous Peoples in Namibia.

Heads and shoulders photo of Joji Cariño

Joji Cariño is senior policy advisor and former director of Forest Peoples Programme. She is an Ibaloi from the Cordilleras Highlands of the Philippines. She has over 30 years of experience working on Indigenous Peoples’ rights.

Head and shoulders photo of Liz Carlile

Liz Carlile (host) is director of the Communications Group at IIED. She is an expert in strategic marketing and communications, with a particular focus on research communications and policy influence, and has published on social learning and climate change communications.

How to listen and subscribe 

The ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast provides informal insights into IIED’s work to create positive change and make the complex issues we face more accessible to wider audiences. The title refers to IIED’s 2019-2024 strategy, which sets out how IIED plans to respond to the critical challenges of our time. 

You can subscribe to the podcast on your favourite podcast app as follows:

The podcast is also available on IIED's YouTube channel

You can follow some of the people you have heard in this episode on Twitter at @lizcarlile and @KrystynaSwider4. Follow the podcast on @IIED_Voices for all the latest updates.