International Society of Ethnobiology Supports Biological and Cultural Diversity at Rio+20 and Beyond

The Potato Park in Peru sends a delegation to Rio+20 Photo credit: Jose Proaño


The International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE) made news at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development this summer.

Introduced to almost 700 governments, businesses, civil society groups, and universities was the “Montpellier Statement,” delivered by Helene Mandrous, the Mayor of Montpellier, France. The statement was developed at ISE’s 13th Biannual Congress held earlier this spring in Montpellier. The Congress united over 600 global delegates to facilitate an ‘ethical space’ where different worldviews can interact and share information across geographical and cultural boundaries, creating an interactive forum for cross-cultural exchanges.

As a result the “Montpellier Statement” was created in support of indigenous, traditional, and local peoples to be involved in policy and decision-making when addressing global environmental challenges at Rio+20. Highlights of the ‘Montpellier Statement’ include:

  • Sustaining inextricably linked biological and cultural diversities;
  • Mitigating and adapting to climate change based on traditional knowledge systems;
  • Creating resilient and productive forested, agricultural, and pastoral landscapes;
  • Supporting equitable health and food systems to achieve food security and sovereignty;
  • Protecting sacred natural sites, landscapes and territories, as the foundation for biocultural resilience; and
  • Developing biocultural community protocols as means of defending rights and strengthening responsibilities to safeguard biocultural heritage.

The “Montpellier Statement” calls for recognition that the voices of members of the communities whose land is impacted within the global sustainable development are important to the global discourse.

For over two decades, the ISE has worked to promote biological and cultural diversity and support the vital role of Indigenous and local peoples in the stewardship of biological diversity and cultural heritage. This includes recognition of land and resource rights, as well as rights and responsibilities over tangible and intangible cultural and intellectual properties. The “Montpellier Statement” is just one of ISE’s many endeavors towards achieving a greater understanding of the complex relationships, both past and present, that exist within and between human societies and their environments.

To view the “Montpellier Statement” click here.

To learn more about the International Society of Ethnobiology visit their Facebook page or follow their Twitter account.


Sasha Rabin Wallinger works on social media and communications with the International Society of Ethnobiology.

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The ISE actively promotes the inextricable linkages between biological and cultural diversity and the vital role of Indigenous and local peoples in stewardship of biocultural diversity as part of their cultural heritage.