ELL: UNESCO/ICSU and biocultural diversity

Luisa Maffi maffi at NWU.EDU
Mon Nov 29 09:28:29 UTC 1999

Following up on my previous message re. UNEP and its embracing the
bio-cult-ling diversity perspective, here's another victory for that
perspective. I finally got to read the text of the "Science
Agenda-Framework for Action" put out last July by the UNESCO-Int'l Council
for Science (ICSU) conference "Science for the 21st century: A new
commitment" (Budapest, 26 June-1 July, 1999)--a big-time document that is
already being widely commented upon.  Para. 86, under section 3.4 "Modern
science and other systems of knowledge", reads:

"86. Governmental and non-governmental organizations should sustain
traditional knowledge systems through active support of the societies that
are keepers and developers of this knowledge, their ways of life, their
**languages** [my emphasis], their social organization and the environments
in which they live, and fully recognize the contribution of women as
repositories of a large part of traditional knowledge."

More evidence that the argument some of us have been making for the past
several years is beginning to be heard internationally! Other paras also
speak about the relationship b/w modern science and traditional knowledge.
I find major contradictions within the document re how to conceive of what
"science" is to begin with, but I do think this is a significant step
forward. Now, of course, the proof is in the local pudding, so to speak:
i.e., in what action will be taken by national governments, regional and
local institutions, etc. to actually promote and support this perspective.
Only means more work for us...

Luisa Maffi

The doc can be found at:

<http://www.unesco.org/science/wcs/eng/declaration_e.htm> [note: it's



Luisa Maffi (Dr.) - Northwestern University - Program in Cognitive
Studies of the Environment - Dept. of Psychology - 102 Swift Hall -
2029 Sheridan Road - Evanston, IL 60208-2710 - USA
Phone: +1.847.4676513 - Fax: +1.847.4917859 - Email: maffi at nwu.edu

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