Responsible and transparent institutes

Published on
April 21, 2020

One of the targets of the sustainable development goal 16 is “the development of effective, responsible, transparent institutes at all levels.”

This goal is supported by two partly related interdisciplinary testing projects, led by Dr Sylvia Kalsson-Vinkhuyzen of the Public Administration and Policy Group of Wageningen University and Research (WUR). Both projects focus on the role of indigenous populations in using their own knowledge to strengthen the responsibility of public institutions regarding international commitments, among which sustainability goal 14 (marine life) and sustainability goal 15 (life on land).

In one of the projects, Make Visible, twelve partners from all of the scientific working groups within the university are involved. In this project, we work on recording and fine-tuning methods to develop indicators in collaboration with the local population, making their knowledge and world perspective visible to the scientists and policymakers. The thus generated insights in methods and concrete indicators are applied in the development of a new generation of scenarios and models for the future relationship between man and nature, to benefit the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Native perspectives have hitherto been remarkably absent in the indicators used by governments for the follow-up of diversity goals, and in the scenarios and models generated by the scientific community.

The second project involves three chair groups of the Centre of Sustainability Governance of Wageningen University. This project focusses on the process of political negotiation regarding the upcoming strategic plan for the period from 2021-2030 for the Covenant for Bio-diversity (CBD). Native and local knowledge had an unprecedented influence on the often published global assessment of IPBES of the covenant for biological diversity. Our question is: what happens with native and local knowledge that touches the CBD-policy domain, and how do native populations use their expertise and perspectives to hold governments accountable for their actions (or lack thereof) in this process?