Agenda 21

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Agenda 21

Agenda 21, the Programme of Action for Sustainable Development adopted by UNCED in Rio in 1992, contains a series of recommendations about the relevance of traditional knowledge to implementation of sustainable development policies and programmes. These recommendations are directed principally to ‘countries, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations’ and address a wide range of sustainable development issues: human health, land resources, deforestation, desertification and drought, sustainable agriculture and rural development, marine resources, freshwater resources, the role of farmers, the role of science, education, public awareness and information, and information for decision-making.

One of the most significant recommendations on traditional knowledge is perhaps that contained in the chapter on Science for Sustainable Development (recommendation 35.7):

“Countries, with the assistance of international organizations, where required, should: […] (h) Develop methods to link the findings of the established sciences with the indigenous knowledge of different cultures. The methods should be tested using pilot studies. They should be developed at the local level and should concentrate on the links between the traditional knowledge of indigenous groups and corresponding, current "advanced science", with particular focus on disseminating and applying the results to environmental protection and sustainable development.”

A full list of references to traditional knowledge in Agenda 21 can be found by following the links below:

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