supported by:

Logo Krupp
Logo Forest Carbon
Logo Loewe
Programme > Plenary Sessions > Session 3

Session 3


Biodiversity and Cultural Diversity


  • Wolfgang Cramer (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany)


A large part of the world’s biodiversity is maintained and managed as well as endangered or even destroyed by human action. Individuals, social groups and societies accomplish these actions by using their knowledge and skills as guidance and reference framework. Cultural diversity is one way to express the variety of ways societies organise themselves and the ways they interact with their environment.

This session will focus on the relationships between cultural and biological diversity with special emphasis on human action on the local level. Attention is paid on the seventh, third and first goal in the UN Millennium Development Declaration, as they interact with the CBD goal to maintain socio-cultural diversity of indigenous and local communities.

Within this framework, the relevance of, as well as the differences and similarities between, the ideas of biological and cultural diversity will lead us to the problem of heterogeneous bodies of knowledge: Local, everyday-life, traditional or indigenous knowledge and their implications for the use of natural resources on local level often clash with scientific knowledge or globalised notions of resource management. We hope to identify possible conflicts between different bodies of knowledge in order to assess the potentials of knowledge integration on various levels for local sustainable use of biodiversity. Thus, the session aims to contribute to the current debate that policy and management decisions should consider all forms on knowledge and possible ways to shape this interactions, e.g. within the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

As a follow up to the plenary presentations, three workshops will provide opportunities for in-depth reflection of

a)     conceptual and practical problems of knowledge integration,

b)     preservation of cultural and biological diversity as reinforcing or debilitating processes,

c)     social and spatial distribution of benefits from biodiversity.

The aim is to identify research needs for better systemic understanding (system knowledge) as well as for better concepts of action (transformation knowledge).