Pollinators (bees, beetles, birds, bats, flies, wasps’ butterflies etc.) play a vital role for peoples’ wellbeing, food security and livelihood. 30% of the food production and humanity’s survival depend on pollination worldwide. Unfortunately this key fact is not widely acknowledged, reducing the efforts of the public and policy makers to conserve this essential resource and ecosystem service.
Indigenous peoples have an in-depth knowledge of the complex ecosystems they live in, which are also vital habitat for wild pollinators. Through their traditional practices, indigenous peoples have preserved and maintained the local biodiversity, ensuring the continuous provision of services that are critically important for their wellbeing and for the humankind at large.
Recognizing the important role of indigenous peoples in this context, the Rome based Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (IPAFS) has established an Indigenous Pollinators Network, which brings together a variety of organizations such as Keystone Foundation, (India), Slow Food International (Italy), Kivulini Trust (Kenya) and Ogiek Peoples Development Project (Kenya).
The Network aims to draw the attention of beekeepers, farmers and honey hunters to the role of pollinators in the context of ecosystem services, while trying to respond to the familiar marginalization process these local indigenous knowledge holders face on a daily basis. In particular, the initiative is providing inputs to how the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and the work of modern scientists could be linked more equitably and usefully.
The importance of such initiative is confirmed also by the recently held meeting of the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity of Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which has confirmed its interest in supporting the integration of indigenous and local knowledge in scientific processes.