IKS Frequently Asked Questions

What is Indigenous Knowledge?
Indigenous Knowledge (IK) refers to the long standing traditions and practices of cultural specific local communities. It encompasses the skills, innovations, wisdom, teachings, experiences, beliefs, language and insights of the people, produced, and accumulated over years and applied to maintain or improve their livelihood.

What are Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS)?
Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) are bodies of knowledge, skills, teachings and beliefs produced locally by people in their specific cultural communities and environments to maintain and improve their livelihood. They are also known as community knowledge, traditional knowledge, environmental knowledge, etc.

Why should we document and preserve Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS)?
A large part of the indigenous people depending on IKS for survival in health, food security, shelter, natural resource management, conflict resolution, leadership and governance, etc. IKS have over the years been marginalized in the search for sustainable solutions for developmental challenges, e.g. climate change, unemployment, dreadful diseases, conflicts, environmental degradation. IKS needs to be documented, preserved and promoted to contribute to the global pool of knowledge in the search for global developmental challenges. Most of the IK resides with the older generations and transmitted orally. It need to be documented so that is can be protected, not lost and can be shared with younger generations for sustainability.

Why is IKS important for sustainable development and community livelihood?
A large proportion of the indigenous people and local communities, especially in rural areas, depend on IKS for livelihood in health, food security, natural resource management, climate change adaptation. Indigenous knowledge is community-based, accessible, affordable and cultural sensitive hence sustainable.