Biocultural Heritage

Promoting resilient farming systems and local economies

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About this website

Biocultural Heritage (BCH) refers to the knowledge and practices of indigenous people and their biological resources, from the genetic varieties of crops they develop, to the landscapes they create. As indigenous peoples have adapted to harsh climates over many generations, this heritage is important for food security in the face of climate change.

This website shows how the concept of biocultural heritage can be used to protect the bundle of rights that support indigenous peoples and local communities. It provides tools to protect and promote biocultural heritage, such as community protocols and Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) partnerships. It shares research developed through Protecting Community Rights over Traditional Knowledge and Smallholder Innovation for Resilience. It reviews policies to protect BCH at international and national level.

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Latest news and blogs

18 Jun 2014
An International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples has been formed in order to exchange seeds and knowledge to achieve food sovereignty and climate change adaptation in mountain environments, and to advocate for community biocultural heritage rights.
In the spirit of the International Year of Family and Peasant Farming, indigenous mountain farmers from China, Bhutan and Peru have agreed to share seeds in an effort to cope with global climate change.
Cultural and spiritual values of indigenous peoples and climate change will be the focus of an international event in the Potato Park, Cusco, Peru from 26 April to 2 May 2014.

Modern breeding techniques, GM crop imports and commercial seeds mean that many of China’s local varieties are under threat

Projects and outputs

A herbalist providing information on medicinal and food plants occurring in Kaya Kinondo

This five-year project (2012-2017) aims to strengthen biocultural innovation for food security in the face of climate change, in China, India, Kenya and Peru.

Indian musicians

This participatory action-research project in China, India, Kenya, Panama and Peru (2004-2009) developed the concept of Collective Biocultural Heritage as its common framework for research.