Armadillo photograph

Armadillos as a protection against curses. Huari, Bolivia, 2007. Photograph by Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel

The ISE Global Coalition for Biocultural Diversity was established in 1990 by the Kunming Action Plan. The purpose of the Global Coalition is “to encourage the permanent and meaningful dialogue between indigenous peoples, scientists and environmentalists in order to develop a unified strategy to defend the biological and cultural diversity of planet Earth.” Although the specific language may be considered somewhat antiquated, the same spirit and intent guides the international policy focus of the Global Coalition today.

A key accomplishment of the Global Coalition is the development of a Code of Ethics for the ISE. The Code of Ethics was initiated in 1996, and completed and unanimously adopted by the ISE Membership at the 10th International Congress of Ethnobiology in 2006. It promotes “genuine partnerships and collaboration with indigenous peoples, traditional societies and local communities to avoid past injustices and build towards developing positive, beneficial and harmonious relationships in the field of ethnobiology.”

Participatory mapping with Shawi communities. Santa Maria de Cahuapanas, Peru, 2007. Photograph by Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel



The original name, The Global Coalition for the Defense of Biological and Cultural Diversity, was changed to The ISE Global Coalition  for Biocultural Diversity by membership vote at the second General Assembly during the 2010 ISE Congress in Tofino, BC, Canada.



As outlined in Annex 2 of the ISE Constitution, membership of the Global Coalition will consist of those individuals and institutions who wish to work in unity guided by the following principles:

1. Members will actively seek organizations to join the coalition;

2. Members will collaborate with indigenous organizations and indigenous peoples to develop multi-cultural, multi-lingual education and training materials;  Members will actively request governments and educators to use these materials;

3. Member researchers will take an ethically and socially responsible approach in their dealings with indigenous/native peoples and will provide a full feedback of their findings and results;

4. Members will use and engage the media whenever, wherever, and however possible to promote The Declaration of Belém and the Kunming Action Plan;

5. The Global Coalition demands to be heard in the United Nations World Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and will actively pursue representation;

6. Members will work to guarantee that indigenous knowledge be duly considered in national and international development programs and projects;

7. Members will help to secure the recognition of traditional and indigenous knowledge as inventive and intellectual, and, therefore, worthy of protection in all legal, ethical, and professional frameworks;

8. Members will form an Ethics Committee to set standards and monitor the progress of the Kunming Action Plan;

9. Members will establish a “STRATEGY FOR THE GLOBAL COALITION” to guide activities for 1992 and beyond.

Read about the current activities of the ISE Global Coalition