The ISE Ethics Program

The ISE Code of Ethics provides guidance for decision-making and conduct of ethnobiological research and related activities. The value of “mindfulness” – a vigilant willingness to evaluate one’s own understandings, actions, and responsibilities to others – is fundamental to the ISE Code of Ethics and central to equitable and ethical research relationships.

Two major ethics program initiatives are currently in progress for 2011-2012: (i) Review of the ISE Code of Ethics with anticipation of minor revisions such as updating terms and simplifying language to aid in translations to other languages, and (ii) establishing an online platform to support continued development of the Ethics Toolkit.

Once the online platform and initial content for the Ethics Toolkit are in place, significant additional contributions of materials are anticipated. The four primary streams of the toolkit are legal, education, research and policy.  Additionally, we will be developing material targeted for specific user groups, such as funders, policy makers, students, etc. An interactive booth at the poster session during the next ISE Congress is planned to promote and further develop the Ethics Toolkit.

The Policy stream within the toolkit will be informed in part by collaborations with the ISE Global Coalition.  Also in collaboration with the ISE Global Coalition and drawing on in-kind and personnel support from collaborating institutions, recommendations will be developed for implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) based on the Code of Ethics and Ethics Toolkit.

All recommendations and materials will be publicly shared and widely disseminated. If you are interested in actively participating in the review process of the Code of Ethics, or in contributing or reviewing material for the Ethics Toolkit, please send us an email.

Gleb Raygorodetsky joins the ISE Board

The ISE Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Gleb Raygorodetsky as the Ethics Program Co-Chair with current Chair, Kelly Bannister.  The three main considerations in appointing a co-chair for the ethics program are interest and commitment to the area of research ethics, background experience and expertise, and a measured ability to follow through on the agreed program of work.

Gleb first became aware of the ISE Code of Ethics during his work as a Traditional Ecological Project Coordinator for the Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada in the mid-1990s. Subsequently, he became more intimately familiar with the ISE Ethics Program during his work as the Global Biocultural Initiative Program Officer of The Christensen Fund, and having actively participated in ISE congresses since 2006, when he first became an ISE member.

Gleb’s academic training and practical experience are in conservation biology, with particular focus on resource co-management and traditional knowledge systems. Hence, ethical considerations relevant to co-creating initiatives that benefit local biocultural systems have been at the heart of his work, whether it was with the Evèn reindeer herders of Kamchatka (Russia), the Aleut fur seal hunters of the Pribiloff Islands (Alaska), the Caboclos pirarucu fishermen of the Brazilian Amazon, or the Gwich’in caribou hunters of Canada’s Northwest Territories. During his work he also tried to be just as ethical and respectful toward other sentient beings, such as kittiwakes and pumas, guillemots and grizzly bears, sea otters and reindeer.

For the last five years, Gleb has been focusing his efforts in the field of biocultural diversity, collaborating with and consulting for a number of international organizations and private foundations. More recently, Gleb has been closely involved in assisting the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty, hosted by the Bioversity International’s Platform for Agrobiodiversity, in developing its own Code of Ethics.

His past work and current consulting experiences provide him with a solid background and skill set to support the ISE Ethics Program in its current incarnation, and we look forward to working with him on the current initiatives and to integrating the fresh ideas he has for our Society’s future.

The ISE Global Coalition

The Global Coalition is the action-oriented policy and advocacy arm of the ISE, established in 1990 through the Kunming Action Plan. The Global Coalition is a network that promote synergy and collaboration between like-minded groups working on traditional resource rights, ethics, ethnobiology, biocultural protocols, UNDRIP, and related issues. The Global Coalition, in conjunction with the Ethics Committee, works closely with other non-profit organizations and academic and professional societies on policy and advocacy, including implementation and adoption of the ISE Code of Ethics.

In the 2011-2012 term, the Global Coalition plans to establish an online action and information-sharing portal that responds to pressing issues, with the explicit objective of informing and empowering ISE members and other interested people to take action on issues of international, regional or local concern. These might include traditional knowledge misappropriation, biodiversity loss, the impacts of extractive industry and new technologies on biocultural diversity and climate change. Through these online initiatives, the ISE will be able to draw attention to and provide support for groups in need of international voices speaking out in a timely and effective manner. The online action and information-sharing portal will link to and collaborate with other effective models of internet organizing and will largely be based on volunteer efforts supported by the Director and members of the Global Coalition and the ISE Coordinator.

Are you interested in becoming more involved in the ISE Global Coalition?

The Global Coalition, and the basis for membership, is outlined in the Kunming Action Plan. The Coalition includes a wide range of individuals and organizations and, while this is a somewhat loose group, we all actively pursue and contribute to the same vision.  ISE members form a diverse community within which you can network and partner.

We invite you to be a part of the ISE Global Coalition by:

  • participating in discussions on the listserv (soon to be an online member forum),
  • sharing documents, links to petitions, and information on relevant conferences or meetings,
  • contributing to the ISE newsletter, and
  • participating in ISE regional conferences and biennial congresses.

If you are not already a member of the ISE, you can find more information about joining the ISE on our website. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the ISE Admin.

Ideas for the 2012 Indigenous Forum

The ISE Congresses provide an important meeting ground for people to come together to share experiences and ideas and formulate action plans. In Cusco (2008) under the leadership of Alejandro Argumedo, the current Director of the Global Coalition, the ISE began hosting an Indigenous Forum as an integral part of its congresses.  The inaugural Indigenous Forum resulted in the Indigenous Forum Declaration [ND to add to ISE website and link].  In Tofino (2010) the Indigenous Forum followed a fairly loose format of pre-determined facilitated gatherings and then ended in plenary where a Hul’q’umi’num elder led a Ts’lhnuts’umaat, a Coast Salish traditional teaching about being “the whole family.”

Following on the adoption of the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) at the ISE Congress in Tofino, Canada (May 2010), the Global Coalition is developing the concept for the 2012 Indigenous Forum around exploring how the UN Declaration for Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) can be broadened into actionable steps. The Forum will run as a parallel stream during the Congress, culminating in a plenary session on the last day when recommendations will be shared with all Congress participants.

If you are interested in helping develop this idea further – or leading a session on an aspect of this theme – please contact the ISE Admin.

ISE Darrell Posey Fellowship pictureThe ISE Darrell Posey Fellowship Program

The ISE Darrell Posey Fellowship for Ethnoecology and Traditional Resource Rights Program supports Indigenous and traditional peoples working to achieve land, cultural, human, traditional resource and other rights, as well as their efforts to address environmental or resource management problems. At the same time, the Program promotes applied ethnobiological research, helping to address the needs of local groups, while building capacity and supporting chronically under-funded ethnobiologists. The Fellowship Program also seeks to strengthen the ISE’s work on ethics, incorporating the guiding principles of the ISE Code of Ethics into its criteria, and requiring all recipients to support and follow the Code.

The 2011-2013 Fellowship Program includes Field Fellowships and Small Grants (established in 2004) and new Institutional Grants for graduate students that support research addressing the needs of Indigenous peoples and local communities, while building the field of ethnobiology and promoting ethical research in line with the ISE Code of Ethics. Fellowships and small grants are provided to individuals and groups addressing the core objectives of the fellowship program. The Program is intentionally broad in scope, allowing the ISE to address a diversity of needs and have a positive impact at different levels.

Two new components of the Institutional Fellowships are designed to support the enthusiasm and help build expertise in the younger members of the ethnobiology community, and to encourage emerging leaders and build capacity in this field. The PhD Fellowship is a two-year fellowship ($6,000 per year for two years) and the Masters Fellowship is a one-year fellowship (one-time award of $3,000).

In December 2011 we will award one Field Fellowship, two Small Grants, one PhD Fellowship, and two Masters Fellowships. The Call for Nominations and Applications is now open for all awards:

  • Nominations/Applications due: 1 November 2011
  • Selections made: December 2011
  • All recipients will be notified by: December 2011

All six awards include additional funds to support the recipients’ participation at the 2012 ISE Congress in Montpellier, France (May 2012). Details about the award process and news about past and current Fellows and Small Grants recipients are available on the ISE website.