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Indigenous knowledge and science are complementary disciplines, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) should promote partnerships that recognise these links, delegates at the summit were told on Tuesday (27 August).

Speaking at a session on cross-sectoral cooperation, Joji Cariño — from the Tebtebba Foundation, a centre for indigenous peoples' policy research and education in the Philippines — called on the WSSD to "develop partnerships that take seriously the complementarity between science and traditional knowledge."

But she also emphasised that such partnerships will require capacity building. "It is clear that many of our institutions are not equipped to deal with this diversity [of information]," she said.

Cariño urged decision makers to acknowledge the diverse contributions of both indigenous and scientific knowledge. Providing that the necessary mechanisms and tools are made available, "very good cooperation based on real respect and learning from each other can actually take place", she said.

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