The First North American  Dialogue on Biocultural Diversity

5-8 May 2019, Montreal, Canada

The North American Dialogue on Biocultural Diversity took place from the 5th to the 8th of May 2019 in Montreal, Canada. The Dialogue aimed to promote exchange and co-creation of knowledge between different actors to contribute to better understandings of the interlinkages between biological and cultural dimensions of diversity, and the implications for resource management and decision-making processes. It also aimed to raise awareness and recognition regarding the role of indigenous languages and of local and indigenous knowledge and management systems, which provide the foundations for a rich and flourishing biocultural diversity.

The objectives of the North American Dialogue were to:

  • Identify links between biological and cultural diversity in the North American Region, as well as what interrupts these links, while identifying major drivers of biological and cultural diversity loss;
  • Identify solutions and good practices, actions and actors, at various levels to protect and restore biological and cultural diversity;
  • Explore synergies between interlinked provisions of the CBD and UNESCO Conventions on culture and nature, and the potential benefits of an integrated approach.  



Documents for the dialogue are available at the following web page


All photos can be found by following the link. Below are a few.


The North American Dialogue on Biocultural Diversity was held at Hôtel Gouverneur Place Dupuis Montréal, at 1415 St-Hubert Street, Montreal.  The Gouverneur Hotel is centrally located by Berri-UQAM metro station.


The North American Dialogue was part of a series of events organized within the framework of the UNESCO-SCBD Joint Programme of Work to explore the meaning and values of the links between biological and cultural diversity at the regional level and implications for solutions for global problems facing humanity (such as climate change, desertification, and unsustainable use of natural resources).

Cultural diversity, including linguistic diversity, provides humanity with resilience to adapt to changing times. Biological diversity contributes to ecosystem health and resilience in contexts of change. Addressing complex environmental and social challenges in today’s world will require interdisciplinary approaches and systems-level perspectives that recognize and build on the interlinkages between humans and nature.

As such, there is an urgent need to strengthen dialogue, collaboration, and exchange across multiple knowledge systems, sectors, disciplines, and scales. The North American Dialogue convened a range of actors to exchange knowledge and explore the meaning and value of biological and cultural diversity in Canada and the United States.


The Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA)

CICADA includes representatives of Atikamekw, Eeyou Istchee Cree, Innu, Mitchikanibikok Inik, Walpole Island Algonquin, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa, Bigstone Cree, St’at’imc, Hul’qumi’num, Kitkatla and Tsilhqot’in nations; as well as the Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE) for the Pathway to Canada Target 1 – Conservation 2020; the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society; the Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCA) Consortium; and researchers from more than a dozen academic disciplines and fields at Concordia University, Dartmouth College, Heritage University, McGill University, Université Laval, Université de Montréal, Université du Québec (Abitibi-Témiscamingue), University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Saskatchewan, and University of Victoria.

CICADA is a multidisciplinary research centre with headquarters at McGill University that targets the conceptual and practical potential of indigenous peoples’ collective ‘life projects’ to generate innovative regimes of environmental protection and alternative visions of development. CICADA brings together the projects and programs of more than seventy regular members and collaborators, representing great depth of experience in partnered research with indigenous peoples globally. More information is available at

UNESCO-SCBD Joint Programme on the Links Between Biological and Cultural Diversity

Recognizing the importance of the links between biological and cultural diversity, the Joint Programme between UNESCO and the CBD Secretariat (SCBD) was developed at the International Conference on Biological and Cultural Diversity, held in Montreal, Canada in 2010. Acknowledging that biological and cultural diversity are not only closely interlinked but also mutually reinforcing, the key objective of the programme is to strengthen the linkages between biological and cultural diversity initiatives, foster capacity building, and enhance synergies between interlinked provisions of conventions and programmes dealing with biological and cultural diversity at relevant scales. More information is available at .

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO

In collaboration with its members and partners, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO team identifies and articulates topics of interest in Canada. Our three themes reflect UNESCO’s international priorities and shape all of our efforts in Canada and internationally. Each theme includes a series of initiatives to be implemented by CCUNESCO and reflects the action areas of our networks. The themes are: Building inclusive communities; Encouraging innovation; Protecting our heritage and the biosphere. More information is available at:

The Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Sciences (QCBS) / Centre de la science de la biodiversité du Québec

The mission of the QCBS is: 1) to foster and promote a world-class research and training program in biodiversity science; 2) to facilitate scientific cooperation and learning among a cross-disciplinary group of researchers; and 3) to assume a lead role on biodiversity related issues and to contribute to the academic and public debate on biodiversity loss. The QCBS groups more than 120 researchers working at the forefront of the field both nationally and internationally, and represents a partnership between 12 universities and 4 collaborating organizations Bishop’s University, Concordia University, McGill University, Université de Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université Laval, Université de Sherbrooke, INRS-institut Armand Frappier, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Université du Québec en Outaouais, TELUQ, the Montréal Botanical Garden, Biodôme de Montréal, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

Assembly of First Nations, Canada

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada, which includes more than 900,000 people living in 634 First Nation communities and in cities and towns across the country. More information is available at:

The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation of the American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History created the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) in 1993 to contribute its extensive scientific and educational resources to the conservation of the great variety of life in all its forms and the essential interactions among them – our planet’s biodiversity.

The CBC transforms knowledge – from diverse sources and perspectives, and spanning areas of scientific research as well as traditional and local knowledge – into conservation action. More information is available at:

Parks Canada

The mandate of Parks Canada is to protect and present, on behalf of the people of Canada, nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations. More information is available at:

The Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCA) Consortium

The Association ICCA Consortium is established to promote the appropriate recognition of, and support to, indigenous peoples’ and community conserved areas and territories (ICCAs) at local, national and international levels. The ICCA Consortium was officially established in Switzerland in 2010 as an International Association under the Swiss Civil Code. It is a membership-based civil society organisation supported by an international semi-volunteer Secretariat based in twenty-two countries. More information is available here: