Mobilization serves to empower Indigenous peoples and local communities to articulate and bring out ILK into a form that can be shared with others. The MEB approach emphasizes the importance of mobilizing knowledge within the respective knowledge system, on its own terms. This means that the knowledge holders themselves should be in control of how and why they are mobilizing their knowledge, what they consider to be valid knowledge, what knowledge can be shared with others and under what circumstances and conditions. The outcome is a knowledge based product that is legitimate and valid in its local context, and that can be shared with others. Mobilization of knowledge can also be a process of innovation along with revitalization of knowledge. It is the base for potential further step of co-design of knowledge weaving with other actors. 

Here are some examples of Indigenous led processes which aim at  mobilizing, recognizing and sharing traditional knowledge. They provide examples and guidance for culturally appropriate ways of mobilizing knowledge. 

The Local Biodiversity Outlooks (LBO) present the perspectives and experiences of Iindigenous peoples and local communities to the current social-ecological system. They are published by Forest Peoples Programme, in collaboration with Centres of Distinction on Indigenous and Local Knowledge, Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network, International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, and Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and is  a key source of evidence about the actions and contributions of IPLCs towards achieving the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  The information and case studies presented in the LBOs are continuously updated. 

Another example is the Our Knowledge Our Way guidelines by Indigenous peoples’ groups across Australia. It showcases innovative ways in which Indigenous peoples are working with, and strengthening, their knowledge to build sustainable futures through their land and sea Country. It was developed in collaboration with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), and with support from the Australian Committee of the IUCN. The Guidelines are based on 23 Australian case studies, submitted by Indigenous people and their representative bodies.

Tools, methods, guidance, inspiration and support can be found through engagement with holders of knowledge from other knowledge systems and with external actors. For example, the ABN has been working with ecocultural mapping and calendars together with communities across southern Africa, drawing on experiences from communities in Colombia.

Ethical and culturally appropriate ways of mobilizing knowledge are critical to protect human rights, rights to knowledge, territory and self-determination. Often, this is a strong motivation for knowledge holders to engage in mobilization. It is critical to protect the integrity of the knowledge and the insights consolidated and shared. Communities from different Indigenous and local knowledge systems (ILKS) may have fundamentally different perspectives on time, human-nature relations and the ethical framing of knowledge than, for example, scientific knowledge systems around biodiversity conservation. 

In local contexts, knowledge is embedded in practices, norms and rules, and decision making of significant relevance for resource use, biological diversity in all its forms, livelihoods and rights to use these resources. Mobilization of knowledge can re-vitalize and strengthen existing long-standing governance systems that have protected and generated biodiversity and ecosystems over millennia (as shown in the IPBES global report). 

The Convention on Bbiological Ddiversity has developed a number of relevant voluntary guidelines under its programme of work on traditional knowledge (WG 8(j):

  • Akwé: Kon Voluntary Guidelines
  • The Tkarihwaié:ri code of ethical conduct Ensure Respect for the Cultural and Intellectual Heritage of Indigenous peoples and local communities
  • Mo’otz Kuxtal Voluntary Guidelines which deals with Free, prior and informed consent on traditional knowledge for Indigenous peoples and local communities