Linking indigenous knowledge with transformation processes of sustainable food systems – concepts and examples


Humboldt University of Berlin

Time: Friday, 20. January 2023, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Room: M2-M3

Languages: English, German, French


Indigenous populations play a key role in the conservation of global biodiversity. Their food systems are often characterised by more sustainable designs: they tend to be better adapted to the local environment in ecological terms and could thus be classified as more resilient to climate change. In spite of these benefits, long-established and context-adapted knowledge is rarely included on an equal footing in the transformation processes of food systems. An incompatibility between “modern/western” and “traditional/indigenous” knowledge is often described. There is a need to develop concepts that promote better links between indigenous and modern/western systems in order to thereby facilitate a sustainable, context-adapted transformation of food systems. Alongside conceptual approaches to linking knowledge from different systems, the planned expert panel will also present concrete practical examples. In doing so, the expert panel will build on debates that were held during a side event of the UN FSS 2021. The expert panel aims to give substance to the starting points that have been developed for linking indigenous knowledge to the sustainable transformation of food systems at all levels of action (see “Nature Communications Earth&Environment“).

Keynote Speaker

Joachim von Braun is Distinguished Professor for economic and technological change at Bonn University, Center for Development Research (ZEF). His research is on economic development, science and technology policy, poverty reduction, food and nutrition security, agriculture, resource economics, and trade. Von Braun is President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Vatican, and member of various academies of science, incl. in Asia and Africa. He is Vice President of the German NGO Welthungerhilfe. He served as Chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021. He was director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington DC.

Panel Guests

Asja Hanano is Head of the Policy & External Relations Department and the Berlin Office of Welthungerhilfe (WHH) since 2019. She has worked in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance for almost 20 years, for WHH since 2011. Before Berlin, she worked 15 years abroad, most recently as Country Director in Nepal and Liberia, and for other INGOs in South Sudan, Myanmar and Ethiopia. Asja is keen to use her hands-on experience to advocate for political change towards zero hunger and for the realization of the right to adequate food, and to strengthen interlinkages between programme and political work. She is passionate about addressing structural causes of hunger and poverty and making sure that demands from the ground are taken-up in policy processes.

Dr. med. Fatimata Konè is a Medical Nutritionist and Head of Project at Welthungerhilfe Mali, where she has been working for over a decade. She has extensive expertise in food and nutrition security as well as emergency and transitional aid. Dr. med. Koné obtained her Doctorate in Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Odonto-stomatology (FMPOS), Bamako.
Currently, she is Head of Project of an emergency project in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office and WFP in the central regions of Mali (Mopti & Segou) with the main object to ensure that long-term displaced and vulnerable rural residents have access to food, nutrition, and sustainable livelihoods through the provision of unconditional food assistance.

Collela Madjebi BE is a Project Manager of ProSAR at Groupement Semis Direct de Madagascar (GSDM) with an extensive expertise in Agroecology. Before joining GSDM he gained several years of experience as a technical assistant in the prevention of food crises (FAO CSA, PROACTING) and as an Agricultural and Environment Manager (Fiantso Madagascar & Welthungerhilfe, SILVER) in Madagascar. Within ProSAR, initiated by BMZ and implemented by GIZ Madagascar, GSDM is contributing its expertise in agroecology to improve the food and nutrition security of vulnerable and malnourished farmers in the southeastern district of Vondrozo, Madagascar. Since 2018 he holds a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Unversity of Tananarivo.

Tania Eulalia Martinez-Cruz is an interdisciplinary researcher and an Ëyuujk Indigenous Woman from Mexico. She is a Research Associate at the Laboratory of Anthropology of Contemporary Worlds, Free University of Brussels, and a consultant on Global Water Processes and Indigenous Peoples for the UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility, Stockholm International Water Institute. She has 15 years of experience working on issues linked to international development. She uses her research and collaboration with Indigenous organizations and other stakeholders to advocate for Indigenous Peoples’ role, knowledge, and practices in tackling global challenges such as water, nutrition, food security, climate change, and biodiversity loss.


Dr. Céline Termote is a Senior Scientist at the Alliance Bioversity International-CIAT, with over 15 years of experience with research in development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her multidisciplinary work bridges ethnobotany, agroecology, sustainable food systems, diet diversity and quality, with focus on evaluation of community-based participatory approaches. As Team leader for Africa in the Food Environment and Consumer Behavior research program, she leads a team of about 25 people working on value chains, market integration, study and promotion of agrobiodiversity for diet diversity, food environments, nutrition education and dietary outcomes. Dr. Termote holds a PhD from Ghent University, Belgium.


Dr. Katharina Löhr is Deputy Head of the working Group ‘Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries’ at Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) e.V in Müncheberg and associated researcher at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. In her work she focuses on social-ecological systems and the questions how natural resource management and practices interact with societal relations. Her current project work concentrates on restoration, diversification, agroforestry, livelihoods and impact assessment. With respect to food security research, her focus is on integrated food systems and how to bridge academic and extra-academic knowledge. Dr. Löhr holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany.


Seite empfehlen