Indigenous Naxi-Moso cultural values and worldviews for sustainable development: Four Village Biocultural Heritage Coalition, Yunnan, China
Biocultural Heritage Territories (BCHTs) are mosaics of land uses, deeply linked to Indigenous knowledge systems embedded in cultural traditions, where Indigenous knowledge and practices effectively combine food production with sustainable development, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem protection.
Although Indigenous Peoples have been living sustainably for generations, few studies have explored the role of different elements of cultural heritage, and their links with biodiversity, in promoting sustainable development. This study was conducted as part of the project ‘Indigenous biocultural heritage for sustainable development’ (2018–2021), funded by the Sustainable Development Programme of the British Academy. The project involved case studies in China, India, Peru and Kenya, and had two main objectives:
- Catalysing establishment of BCHTs for sustainable development, and
- Enhancing understanding of the role of biocultural heritage in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals.
This case study in China was coordinated by the UN Environment- International Environmental Management Partnership, Chinese Academy of Science, and the national Farmers’ Seed Network (FSN), working closely with four remote Naxi and Moso communities in Northwest Yunnan province, southwest China.
The study found that core cultural value and worldviews of the four villages emphasis harmony, balance and respect for nature. It also recommends using the villages’ experience to further promote the protection and sustainable use of traditional ecological culture. It also suggests that a bottom-up, community led action research approach can help address the challenges facing Indigenous Peoples and biocultural heritage.