Indigenous Knowledge in Mexico: Between Environmentalism and Rural Development

  • Mina Kleiche-Dray
  • Roland Waast


Since the 1990s, several international agreements (Article 8J of the Biological Diversity Convention, 1992) and international protocols (Nagoya Protocol, 2010) have begun to assess the capacity of indigenous knowledge to contribute to socioeconomic progress as well as to environmental protection. In the course of this process, the knowledge and practices of peasants and natives have been called to the rescue to resolve a number of new problems. These include the loss of biodiversity, threats from carbon dioxide emissions and environmental conservation, with consequent debates about the property rights of local and autochthonous populations — such as that on “biopiracy” versus “bioprospection”. However, the farming methods favoured by the indigenous populations often conflict with national development projects oriented towards the market economy. This discrepancy gives rise to tensions and to local, national and international conflicts that can be observed throughout Latin America. They are typified in a country such as Mexico, which will serve here as an example. Mexico has been the subject of a number of studies1 and is often seen as a laboratory of both ideas and long-term development projects related to these issues. It has 12% of the biodiversity of the planet; natural vegetation occupies more than 71% of its territory, and its forest resources occupy 64.8 million Ha,2 70% of which belong to autochthonous and peasant communities (OCDE, 2013).


Traditional Knowledge Indigenous Knowledge Environmental Governance Food Sovereignty National Environmental Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Mina Kleiche-Dray and Roland Waast 2016

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  • Mina Kleiche-Dray
  • Roland Waast

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