Different ways of knowing: Applying Indigenous Local and Scientific Knowledge to Arctic Conservation Planning

iStock 1037964872Indigenous hunter in Greenland.The objective of this project is to support respectful and effective partnerships to advance area-based management for conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment. The project will also seek to demonstrate how to connect locally-derived knowledge with sea- and ocean-scale scientific knowledge used in national and ocean scale systematic conservation planning and MPA network design.

The project is Arctic-wide, and will build on previous work by PAME on Indigenous engagement in MPA planning by developing tools and best practices for engaging with Indigenous communities.

It will:

  • Develop and expand on case studies of how Indigenous peoples and local communities are already addressing area-based management for conservation or monitoring programs to ensure healthy ecosystems; and,
  • Develop guidance and tools to consider different forms of knowledge derived at specific spatial scales (e.g., locally, regionally, ocean-scale) for comprehensive MPA network planning, design and implementation and begin to develop a community of practice among Arctic Indigenous communities to build capacity and share knowledge on area-based conservation planning and management, including through mentoring and opportunities for Indigenous youth and young professionals.


Project Leads: Canada, United States, AIA, ICC, Saami Council, WWF

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Indigenous communities rely on marine resources for food security and cultural resilience and well-being

Indigenous communities rely on marine resources for food security and cultural resilience and well-being and hold extensive knowledge of the natural world that is valuable to, but underutilized in, informing management decisions in the context of a changing Arctic.

Considering different ways of knowing, including Indigenous and local knowledge and scientific information, in the design and planning of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) and other area-based conservation measures supports more effective and equitable marine conservation and management.

However, meaningful participation of Indigenous and local communities in Arctic conservation planning has been limited by the lack of documented Indigenous and local knowledge; ability to engage with knowledge holders in culturally appropriate and meaningful ways; analysis and documentation of case studies; and best practices and relevant tools. Supporting participation in these ways makes important contributions to improving effectiveness and inclusiveness of Arctic marine resource management and conservation of marine life.

This project will add important content to the MPA-network Toolbox to recognize the importance of including Indigenous and local knowledge and scientific information in marine planning and management, acknowledging the differences, associated unique contributions, and potential synergy of these knowledge systems.


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