The indigenous peoples, a 6% of the world population, represent around 5000 different cultures. The areas where they live are the areas where there is the highest concentration of biodiversity of the planet. This correlation is no coincidence: Indigenous peoples offer contributions that are fundamental to the conservation of the biological diversity.

The indigenous languages are veritable encyclopaedias of ecological knowledge. It has been documented that the native people have developed sophisticated systems of classification and have often produced much more complete cases of taxonomy than those produced by occidental science. When a language dies, the local ecological knowledge and the wisdom that live in that language also die.

In the scientific world, several researchers and organisations have reached the conclusion that it is necessary to promote cultural diversity to protect biodiversity. The IUCN (Union for Conservation of Nature) and UNESCO, amongst others, support the conservation of world cultural diversity and the traditional ecological knowledge of indigenous peoples.

In the field of economics, the American Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize in Economics 2009, has also put forward arguments in favour of diversity. After analysing a great variety of systems of the management of economic resources in different societies around the world, Ostrum reached the conclusion that the local systems are in many cases more efficient and sustainable than a global and uniform system imposed from above.

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