North American Dialogue on Biological and Cultural Diversity: Exploring Nature and Culture in the North American Context
The North American Dialogue on Biological and Cultural Diversity is organized by the Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA) and the Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCA) Consortium, under the auspices of the Joint Programme between UNESCO and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), ‘Linking Biological and Cultural Diversity,’ in partnership with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Sciences (QCBS), and in close consultation with Assembly of First Nations (AFN).
The North American Dialogue is part of a series of events organized within the framework of the UNESCO-SCBD Joint Programme of Work to explore the meaning and values of the links between biological and cultural diversity at the regional level and implications for solutions for global problems facing humanity (such as climate change, desertification, and unsustainable use of natural resources).
Cultural diversity, including linguistic diversity, provides humanity with resilience to adapt to changing times. Biological diversity contributes to ecosystem health and resilience in contexts of change. Addressing complex environmental and social challenges in today’s world will require interdisciplinary approaches and systems-level perspectives that recognize and build on the interlinkages between humans and nature.
As such, there is an urgent need to strengthen dialogue, collaboration, and exchange across multiple knowledge systems, sectors, disciplines, and scales. The North American Dialogue will convene a range of actors to exchange knowledge and explore the meaning and value of biological and cultural diversity in Canada and the United States.
The goal of this programme of activities, culminating at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) COP 15 , is to encourage the 196 Parties to the CBD to embed considerations of the links between biological and cultural diversity and the concept of “biocultural diversity” into the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework, taking into account the broader global processes, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The North American Dialogue aims to promote exchange and co-creation of knowledge between different actors to contribute to better understandings of the interlinkages between biological and cultural dimensions of diversity, and the implications for resource management and decision-making processes. It also aims to raise awareness and recognition regarding the role of indigenous languages and of local and indigenous knowledge and management systems, which provide the foundations for a rich and flourishing biocultural diversity.
The objectives of the North American Dialogue are to:
• Identify links between biological and cultural diversity in the North American Region, as well as what interrupts these links, while identifying major drivers of biological and cultural diversity loss;
• Identify solutions and good practices, actions and actors, at various levels to protect and restore biological and cultural diversity;
• Explore synergies between interlinked provisions of the CBD and UNESCO Conventions on culture and nature, and the potential benefits of an integrated approach.
III. STRUCTURE AND CONTENT OF THE CONFERENCE
The Conference will take place over 3 days, from 6 to 8 May 2019.
The Conference will open with high level addresses and a field visit, gathering up to 100 participants from First Nations, civil society, academia, Government and the UN System who can contribute with multiple and diverse perspectives on biocultural issues across different scales in the North American region.
Following the high-level addresses and the field visit, the Conference will cover four thematic streams. Each stream will address a particular topic/set of topics contributing to the objectives of the Conference, such as the restoration, revitalization and transmission of traditional knowledge systems, cultures and languages; the relationship between cultures, economies, well-being and ecosystems; instruments of change and culturally-specific applications of technology for the preservation of biological and cultural diversity; and the governance, management and conservation of territories by indigenous peoples and local communities.
A Chairperson and Rapporteur will be nominated for each stream. The Chairperson and rapporteur will report the outcomes of each stream back to the Conference’s Plenary on Day 3, after which the Plenary will be invited to adopt the outcomes.
Results and lessons learned from the Conference will be synthesized into the final outcomes by the UNESCO-SCBD Joint Programme Secretariat, along with partners. Expected outcomes include:
• Policy recommendations, including an official Declaration, to promote resilient communities and strengthen the links between biological and cultural diversity in the North American region;
• A final report with key insights to inform consultations on development of the CBD Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework which would put Nature and Culture at the center of the mission of the CBD;
• Case studies of biocultural approaches to inspire action;
• Key insights that will be integrated into relevant capacity-development opportunities and training materials;
• A regional network of individuals and institutions working with biocultural issues.