UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative

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Home » About Us » UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative

UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative

The United Nations University (UNU) is in the process of establishing a Traditional Knowledge Institute (TK Institute) in Australia. The UNU TK Institute aims to promote and strengthen research on traditional knowledge (TK) of indigenous and local communities conducted from a global perspective, grounded in local experience.

The Institute is being developed into a world-class centre of excellence, promoting indigenous research and development, and providing significant practical benefits to the indigenous people of the world. In particular, the Institute seeks to contribute to:

  • change mindsets and paradigms about the role of TK in our society and in key sectors such as academia, government and business;
  • increasing the recognition and importance of TK;
  • developing the application of TK in a broad range of contexts (e.g. ecosystem management and biotechnology);
  • developing strategies for the preservation and maintenance of TK; and
  • facilitating the development of the capacity of indigenous communities to conserve and apply their knowledge in an increasingly globalised economy.

A UNU-IAS pilot research programme on TK (also known as the Traditional Knowledge Initiative) was established in 2007 with the generous support the Christensen Fund, a leading US based foundation active in the areas of cultural and biological diversity, and the Northern Territory Government of Australia. The pilot programme is an important step in the process towards the establishment of a permanent UNU TK Institute.

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