International Conference on the BRICS Countries

Indigenous Knowledge Systems for Sustainable Food Security and Environmental Governance for Climate Change Adaptation

Concept Note

  • Background
  • Purpose and Scope
  • Specific Objectives
  • Highlights of the Conference
  • Participants
  • Conference Programme

Background

The Department of Science and Technology (DST)-National Research Foundation (NRF) Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) in collaboration with the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Science (NIHSS), South African BRICS Think Tank (SABTT), Municipal Institute for Learning (MILE, South Africa), eThekwini Municipality (South Africa), Africa Programme of the United Nations (UN) University for Peace (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Durban Chamber of Commerce and African  Centre  for the  Constructive  Resolution  of  Disputes (ACCORD) are jointly organising an International Conference on the BRICS[1] Countries under the theme:  Building on the Indigenous for Sustainable Food Security and Environmental Governance for Climate Change Adaptation in South-South Cooperation.  The Conference will be held at the MOSES MABHIDA STADIUM in Durban, South Africa, 13-14 September 2016.

Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) are bodies of knowledge, skills, innovations, beliefs, experiences and insights of the people in their respective natural and cultural environments.  These are generated and accumulated over the years and applied to maintain and improve livelihoods.  They are also known as community-based knowledge systems.

Rationale

The BRICS member countries represent some of the fastest growing economic regions in the world.  However, in spite of their socio-economic, geo-political and cultural diversity, the common internal challenges facing them are food security and environmental governance for climate change adaptation.  A large proportion of the populations in these countries, especially women in the rural and marginalised communities depend on indigenous knowledge systems for food security and environmental management for climate change adaptation.  While this is so, conventional approaches to developmental challenges tend to neglect these community-based knowledge systems.  This conference is motivated by the increasing realisation among researchers, policymakers, development agencies and the private sector within and outside the BRICS countries that sustainable solutions to developmental challenges should take cognisance of the role of IKS.

[1] BRICS countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa

Purpose and Scope

The conference aims to add value to the theme of the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa, India (October 2016), Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions, by contributing community-based solutions to developmental challenges facing BRICS countries.

This international conference is meant to create knowledge and awareness on the role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) in promoting sustainable food security and environmental governance for climate change adaptation in the BRICS member countries.  Realising that the future and sustainability of IKS lies with the young generation, one of the emphasis of the conference is building capacity of emerging researchers and youth.  It will be a platform to share best practices in the efficacy of IKS in food security and environmental governance for climate change adaptation.  This will also include issues of research and technology, building a community of practice (CoP), and creating a cadre of emerging researchers who will carry forward the IKS agenda.  The focus of the IKS BRICS Conference on young generation and emerging researchers is in line with the key priority areas of the BRICS Summit in Goa, which includes People to People Contact and Youth.

The conference intends to attract international participants from within and outside the BRICS member countries committed to sustainable food security and environmental governance for climate change adaptation.  The aim is to enhance south-south cooperation as well as the interface between community-based and other knowledge systems.

Specific Objectives
The conference will:

  • Contribute to the key priority areas of the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa, October 2016 on People to People Contact and Youth;
  • Provide a platform for sharing experiences on research, legal and policy frameworks among the diverse stakeholders;
  • Build a cadre and a network of the young generation, emerging researchers, policy-makers and development agencies within and outside the BRICS countries committed to the role of IKS in the context of the conference theme;
  • Devise strategies for interfacing indigenous knowledge with other knowledge systems (e.g.: ICTs and social media) to meet the challenges of the 21st century impacting on food security and environmental governance for climate change adaptation.

Highlights of the Conference

The sessions will bring to life the richness of IKS medium of communication through the combination of keynote addresses, panel discussions, musical theatre for advocacy performances and round table dialogues.  Targeted exhibitions will offer practical experience on integration of IKS, food security, environmental governance and climate change.

Mobilisation of the Young Generation

  • The use of social media for live reporting of the conference.
  • Competition for innovative and creative ideas on the use of IKS for sustainable food security, environmental governance for climate change.
  • Developing a community of practice of youth champions for IKS development.

Communication in a Global Space

  • Taking advantage of existing social media networks, a group of youth will be trained in social media skills to give the conference a global reach through live social reporting. This will also enable the youth to internalise the integration of IKS, food security, environmental governance and climate change.

Conference Outputs

  • Conference proceedings
  • Special Issue – IKS Journal
  • Database of BRICS IKS researchers, emerging researchers, practitioners and other stakeholders
  • Communities of practice (CoP) from emerging IKS researchers and practitioners
  • IKS Forum /Portal
  • A programme on Youth Capacity Building in Social Reporting and Communication for Indigenous Knowledge Systems.
  • Strategic and multi-stakeholder partnerships

Community and Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility

The BRICS countries International Conference on Indigenous Knowledge Systems for Sustainable Food Security and Environmental Governance for Climate Change Adaptation is about mobilising local communities for environmental preservation and protection using their own ways of knowing, attitudes and value systems. It emphasizes the significance of community level engagement.

The active engagement of local communities mitigates the mistake of alienating people from public and private sector initiatives. This marginalizes their efforts and knowledge systems in the sustainable development process. The conference has the view that once people, in their respective local communities feel that they are part of the business of the state and the private sector, they become inspired and ready to protect society, the state, their own resources and natural environment in general. This BRICS conference theme on Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Environmental Governance is also the recognition that the environment is where people live and work. It is where people must take charge of their own lives based on their own ways of knowing, knowledge production and value systems. The environment as a home gives people a sense of location, sense of belonging, creates a context for solidarity and identity. During the conference there will be recycling bins and promotion of environmental sustainable practices and products as a demonstration of community and corporate environmental and social responsibility.

African Traditional Leadership in Sustainable Food Security and Environmental Governance for Climate Change Adaptation

BRICS Countries International Conference on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) for Sustainable Food Security and Environmental Governance for Climate Change Adaptation organized in partnership with African Traditional Leadership (Amakhosi) as the custodians of IKS rooted in their respective local communities.  The African traditional leaders from various parts of South Africa will have the opportunity to share their views and experiences with the international participants on the themes of the conference including the role of indigenous institutions in global security, human rights and international trade.

The BRICS Countries International Conference on Indigenous Knowledge Systems for Sustainable Food Security and Environmental Governance for Climate Change Adaptation

Partner Profiles

SA BRICS Think Tank

Conducts broad-based analysis on the relationships between South Africa and the BRICS countries from the perspective of both South Africa’s national interests, the interests of the African continent, and the interests of the BRICS countries. Provides a platform for researchers and academics to exchange ideas and to generate evidence-based policy recommendations.  Shapes the strategic vision of South Africa and the wider African region around global financial, economic and governance issues.  Provides research-based technical and institutional support to the South African government in the formulation and re-formulation of relevant BRICS-related public policies and development programmes. Conducts policy analysis aimed at informing the long-term strategy of BRICS.

United Nations University for Peace, Africa Programme –

United Nations University for Peace (UPEACE) was established as a Treaty Organization with its own Charter by the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 35/55 of 5 December 1980 with a mission

“to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace and with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, to stimulate cooperation among peoples and to help lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress, in keeping with the noble aspirations proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations”.

In line with the mission of UPEACE, the central focus of the Africa Regional Programme is to build the capacity of African tertiary institutions in the areas of peace, conflict, governance, security, and development. UPAP undertakings are built around two major pillars:-Strengthening Teaching, Training and Learning capacity of African tertiary institutions; and Enhancing Research and Publication by African scholars.  To date the Africa Regional Programme works closely with 27 tertiary institutions in Africa and Published the bi-annual Africa Peace and Conflict Journal and UPEACE Africa Policy Series.

African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)

ACCORD is a South Africa-based civil society organisation, working throughout Africa to bring creative solutions to the challenges posed by conflict on the continent.  The primary aim is to influence political developments by bringing conflict resolution, dialogue and institutional development to the forefront as an alternative to armed violence and protracted conflict.  Specialist areas include conflict management, analysis, prevention which is achieved through mediation, negotiation, training and research.  The current vision is to promote dialogue towards building peaceful co-existence in an inter-dependent world.

National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) was established on 5 December 2013.  The NIHSS advances and co-ordinates scholarship, research and ethical practices in the fields of Humanities and the Social Sciences (HSS) within and through the existing public universities.  The NIHSS supports the HSS within and outside South Africa.  It also advises government and civil society on HSS related matters.

Department of Science and Technology – National Research Foundation Centre in IKS (CIKS)

The CIKS is mandated to promote, preserve and protect IKS through research, postgraduate training

Participants:

  • Keynote speakers to give an overview of the conference thematic areas
  • Panel Experts will be invited to engage in discussions and stimulate dialogue
  • Participants to share experience and knowledge on one or more conference thematic areas
  • Media Liaison and Social Media Reporters

Who Should Attend?

Stakeholders within and outside the BRICS member countries involved and interested in food security and environmental governance for climate change adaptation:

  • Policy makers
  • Researchers
  • Emerging Researchers
  • Donor Agencies
  • Organized Civil Society
  • Academics
  • NGOs
  • Business and Industry

Interested stakeholders will be required to prepare on any of the five thematic areas mentioned either:

  • A motivation letter for an innovative IKS concept as an expression of interest; or
  • An abstract to develop papers/posters for presentation.

Our Proud Sponsors

EThekwini Municipality
Municipal Institute of Learning
Education for Peace
National Institute for the Humanties and Social Sciences
National Research Foundation
University of KwaZulu Natal
Department of Science and Technology
South African BRICS Think Tank
United Nations