The Multiple Evidence Base (MEB) approach for connecting knowledge systems views indigenous, local and scientific knowledge systems as generating different manifestations of knowledge. When combined, these can generate new insights and innovations for sustainable governance of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The MEB approach emphasizes complementarity and equitable and transparent processes for connecting across knowledge systems. If applied in ecosystem assessments, for example, evaluation of knowledge would occur within rather than across the contributing knowledge systems.

A MEB approach on a particular issue creates an enriched picture of understanding as a base for policy decisions or as a starting point for joint problem formulation and further knowledge generation.

In an inclusive and iterative process, a MEB approach can enhance the legitimacy and relevance of the assessment outcomes for a wide range of actors.

The development of a MEB approach started as a part of the on-going “Dialogue on connecting indigenous, local and scientific knowledge systems”, emerging through collaborations between SwedBio, core partners and a network of experts taking part in the Guna Yala Dialogue.


Significant attention in science-policy-practice community

The MEB approach has received significant attention in the science-policy-practice community and is, for example, recognised as a potential way forward within the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). MEB is also recognised under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as a way of ensuring equitable participation for indigenous, local and scientific knowledge in monitoring of e.g. target 18 on traditional knowledge, innovation and practices, as well as in the development of safeguards for biodiversity financial mechanism and REDD+ under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It could also be applied in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in developments following the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has also referred to the MEB approach as a basic principle in their work with indigenous peoples and local communities.


Combining MEB and CBMIS

SwedBio is sharing experiences with partners in the network that are developing Community Based Monitoring and Information Systems (CBMIS). There are opportunities for a MEB approach to strengthen the impact and policy influence of CBMIS as implemented by indigenous peoples and local communities, as knowledge holders and as rights holders in relation to policy and decision making at the local, national and global level. A group of partners is also working on community research based on mobilising their own knowledge, as a way of piloting the MEB approach in practice.