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ACBC: affirmation of cultures and biodiversity conservation


  • Sakda Saenmi is a Lisu educator and networker from Mae Sot, Thailand, Director of IMPECT Association, and a representative of IKAP network. A promoter of indigenous knowledge and cultures and an educator in the ITEC Project for indigenous youth from Northern Thailand, he supports and facilitates indigenous networks in Thailand and Asia.

  • Timmi Tillmann is an anthropologist. Since 2003 he has been a member of the Regional Coordination Team of the IKAP network based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Having previously lived and worked for ten years in the Peruvian Andes, he was editor of Minka in Huancayo, a peasant journal on Andean wisdom, and General Secretary of the Coordination Commission of Andean Technology in Peru. A lecturer in rural communication at the University of Hohenheim from 1985 to 1993, he now lectures and researches on indigenous knowledge and participatory methods.


The Inter-mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT), as an indigenous organisation based in Chiang Mai, is engaged in the recognition of the rights of the mountain peoples of northern Thailand to live decently on their land, to speak and learn their own language, and to maintain their own cultures. With its educational programmes directed to pre-school, school, and youth, IMPECT is supporting the future capacity of indigenous leadership to keep the cultures and indigenous knowledge alive. IMPECT is also host of the indigenous knowledge and peoples network for capacity building (IKAP) network, which supports indigenous topic networks in six countries in mainland montane South-East Asia. IMPECT is the leading support for the ethnic networks of Thailand, who take part in the activities of IKAP. IKAP has implemented the ACBC approach (the affirmation of cultures and biodiversity conservation) as a critical response to the stereotyped assumption of outsiders about the destructiveness of traditional mountain cultures. ACBC revives the testimonies of indigenous practitioners about their knowledge and wisdom and promotes the cultural and practical values of mountain societies as stewards of the environment. This approach does not come from a romantic love for something already lost: it deals with the core of human life, of identity, of a group's desire to survive and give a meaning to its own life which cannot be replaced by outside cultures or languages. IKAP's networking efforts address the issue of indigenous knowledge: indigenous peoples' intellectual heritage and practices that guarantee and protect local environments and the wealth of biodiversity, not only for the local communities but also for the survival of humanity as a whole.