A congress in four components

The 13th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology is organized in four complementary and interconnected components:
- a
scientific colloquium
side events open to the general public
educational projects carried out by pupils throughout the region
- an
indigenous forum

About this unconventional Congress

For two decades, the International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE) has actively promoted and supported the inextricable linkages between biological and cultural diversity and the vital role of Indigenous and local peoples in stewardship of biological diversity and cultural heritage, which includes recognition of land and resource rights, as well as rights and responsibilities over tangible and intangible cultural and intellectual properties. The ISE is committed to understanding the complex relationships which exist between human societies and their environments. A core value of the ISE is the recognition of Indigenous peoples as critical players in the conservation of biological, cultural and linguistic diversity.

Twenty-two years ago, at the inaugural international congress held in Belém, Brazil in 1988, more than 600 people from 35 countries and 16 Indigenous organizations came together to discuss a common strategy to stop the rapid deterioration of the planet's biological and cultural diversity. They adopted the Declaration of Belém, which explicitly outlines the responsibilities of scientists and environmentalists in addressing the needs of local communities, including establishing mechanisms by which Indigenous experts are recognized as proper authorities and are meaningfully and equitably engaged in all initiatives that affect them, their resources, and their environments.

Today, the ISE continues its groundbreaking efforts in providing a platform for a meaningful and respectful dialogue among people of diverse views, cultures and backgrounds. Cross-cultural sharing of ideas, issues and solutions across Indigenous and non-Indigenous, academic and non-academic, and theoretical and practical perspectives is a vital part of this dialogue that takes place face-to-face at international congresses, held every two years in varying parts of the world. During the ISE Congresses, participants tackle the most difficult and challenging, yet promising questions of our times - cultural and intellectual property rights, endogenous development, and agrobiodiversity, to name a few - informing the global discourse and advancing debates to qualitatively new levels.

A fundamental aspect of the ISE that sets it apart from other societies is the Code of Ethics that, based in “mindfulness,” fosters mutually respectful and beneficial relationships between different knowledge holders. The Code of Ethics was adopted by the ISE membership in 2006 after a decade of development, and is a manifestation of the groundbreaking thinking, courage, and foresight of the ISE and a tremendously important contribution to the future of humankind.

Building on the traditions of past ISE congresses, the 13th International Congress of Ethnobiology in Montpellier, France yet again will bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants from around the world to tackle the key issues of our times. The Congress will include a wide range of formats for people to share their knowledge, ideas and experiences, ranging from talking circles, to film viewings and discussions, cultural performances, field trips, oral presentations and poster sessions. The Congress is designed to be highly interactive and participatory, and to foster a commitment by participants to building understanding and trust.