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Sustaining Cultural and Biological Diversity in a Rapidly Chaning World: Lessons for Global Policy

WGF Sponsored Conference

American Museum of Natural History, New York City

PUBLICATION: Pretty, J.B. Adams, F. Berkes, S. Athayde, N. Dudley, E. Hunn, L. Maffi, K. Milton, D. Rapport, P. Robbins, E.J. Sterling, S. Stolton, A. Tsing, E. Vintinner, and S. Pilgrim. 2009. “The Intersections of Biological Diversity and Cultural Diversity: Towards Integration.” Conservation and Society 7(2):100-112.

Final Report

From April 2-5, 2008, the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation convened the symposium “Sustaining Cultural and Biological Diversity in a Rapidly Changing World: Lessons for Global Policy" (see website http://symposia.cbc.amnh.org/biocultural/). The symposium was held at the Museum, and was organized together with IUCN-The World Conservation Union/Theme on Culture and Conservation, Terralingua, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation with major support and organizational assistance from The Christensen Fund. The purpose of the symposium was to help synthesize the knowledge that has accumulated about the interactions between linguistic, cultural, and biological diversity, to advance theory and practice, and to apply these findings in the international policy arena. The symposium brought together leading scientists; practitioners; members of indigenous, tribal, and local communities; NGOs; the public sector; media, and others versed in relevant fields to create a platform for analysis and dialogue across disciplines and cultures to help forge a vision for sustaining biological and cultural diversity. The program consisted of nine talks or presentations, fifteen panel discussions, a poster session, and informal "ubuntu" gatherings to further promote the exchange of ideas and to encourage networking. Some 350 participants from 40 countries took part, and an additional 537 attended via a live webcast.

Six background "white papers" or primers were produced that served as briefing documents noting studies and trends to date and laying out recommendations for global policy. Drafts of these papers are available on the symposium website (http://symposia.cbc.amnh.org/bioculturallbackground.html). Authors are currently reviewing these, incorporating comments from the symposium. In addition, video archive files of the plenary presentations and audio files of the entire event will be available for downloading from the symposium website. Another unique element of the symposium was the "Voices from Around the World" project, a collection of experiences and insights, sounds and images that explore the links between nature and cu