Our vision is that Indigenous and Tribal communities and
peoples determine their own, and participate fully in their
country's development through utilisation of Indigenous
Knowledge and perspectives. We strive for mutual support
and cross-border relationships between Indigenous and tribal
peoples and communities throughout the region.
- To promote Indigenous Knowledge (IK) for sustainable
- To strengthen community organizations and networks for
IK transition to the younger generations
- To establish contacts, facilitate exchange visits and
join efforts for sustainable development in MMSEA
- To establish a network focused on capacity building
(CB), to support IK and peoples for biodiversity,
conservation and endogenous development.
- To implement and support CB-activities for Indigenous
Peoples and facilitators.
- To provide advice and training to development workers
and researchers (NGOs, Academics, International and State)
- To promote Indigenous People’s own research on
IK and culture with regard to natural resources
- To develop advocacy tools to promote IK in MMSEA
The IKAP structure consists of a Regional Assembly, a
Regional Committee, a Regional Secretariat, Regional Co-ordination
Team and six Country Networks.
Regional Assembly (RA)
The Regional Assembly is the highest decision-making body
of the IKAP Network. It meets annually and is convened
by the Regional Co-ordination Team. It is made up
of representatives from each Country Network, the Secretariat
and the Co-ordination Team.
The RA is responsible for overseeing the work of the IKAP
Network, monitoring the budget and ensuring the voices
of the entire network guide the activities of the Secretariat
and Co-ordination Team.
Regional Committee (RC)
The Regional Committee has a small membership from each
Country Network and acts as an interim decision-making
body when decisions need to be made between RA meetings.
Regional Secretariat and Regional
The Regional Secretariat and Co-ordination Team is based
in Chiang Mai with an office of four full time staff.
The Secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day administrative
and financial work in support of the Co-ordination Team
and communication between the Co-ordination Team and the
Country Networks. The Co-ordination Team is responsible
for day-to-day administrative and financial decision making
of the IKAP network, external communication and networking,
continued conceptual development of the IKAP network and
co-ordination of network activities.
There are six countries that are serviced by the IKAP
Network. These are: Burma, Cambodia, China, Laos,
Thailand and Vietnam. The country networks are the
key working components of the IKAP network. Their structure
and organisation is based on the local needs and requirements
for the most effective mode of work, however, their activities
include: in-country capacity building activities (local
training, organisational development, fairs, exchange
visits, research etc), in-country information, exchange,
dissemination and advocacy platform (networking, local
meetings on specific topics etc), support to and strengthening
of IP groups (finance, advice, training, technical).
country networks (CNs) under the umbrella of the IKAP Regional
Network are the key working components of the IKAP network.
Their structure and organisation is based on the local needs
and requirements for the most effective mode of work. The
detailed TOR, membership criteria and mode of registration
are defined by each country network. The core roles of the
country networks (CNs) are in-country capacity building
activities (local training, organisational development,
fairs, exchange visits, research/implementation based on
selected topic groups, etc.), in-country information / exchange
/dissemination and advocacy platform, networking, local
meetings on specific topics, etc.) and support for and strengthening
of IP groups (finance, advise, training, technical).
CNs are based on voluntary membership
by relevant organisations and individuals. The CNs are autonomous
in their decisions about their structure based on the local
needs and requirements. . The CNs will be responsible for
the organisation and implementation of country network activities.
The CNs will decide on the future country network structure,
including the role & function of the country co-ordinator(s)/focal
point(s) and other structures.
and mechanisms of the network
The IKAP network secretariat invites all interested and
motivated people who can engage and contribute to the
network to join in. This network only lives from the input
of its members as we try to provide an information service
about ongoing and planned activities supporting Indigenous
Knowledge in MMSEA. The IKAP network aims for direct and
meaningful involvement of Indigenous communities themselves,
but we are aware of local limitations and will rely, when
necessary, on committed development and research groups
Participants and beneficiaries of the IKAP-network will
be members of Indigenous communities in the mountainous
areas of the six countries of the region, staff and leaders
of NGOs and IPOs and development workers and/or researchers
linked to NRM-projects and Rural Development projects
in indigenous and tribal communities in the region.
The strategy is to develop the structure of the network
step by step. A small secretariat is located in Chiang Mai, as the location suits to optimum
communication possibilities as a “hub” within
The network activities will take place on three mutually
- In-country activities executed by the local networks,
such as training and topic events, topic groups and bilateral
- Regional activities coordinated by the Secretariat
such as dissemination of information, concepts and methods
about Indigenous Knowledge and Community Facilitation,
training a regional trainer pool and lobbying for IK and
indigenous resource rights at a regional level; and
- International activities including the dissemination
of local and national experiences. Further detailed information
about the network activities is available on request.
All members of the network agree on the following principles
The network is based on personal
and institutional commitments; the strength of the network
is formed by, and reflected by, individual and organisational
members, working on existing structures and using existing
mechanisms and communication channels, developing complementary
initiatives. We will follow a decentralised approach,
by having the local country based groups of IKAP develop
and organise the network activities.
Each country will develop local groups
and networks of organisations and persons, who develop
their own agendas and activities of promoting Indigenous
Knowledge according to the local conditions.
The regional networking will focus
on advocacy and elaborating on the support of Indigenous
Knowledge and Indigenous Peoples in the region, on capacity
building of indigenous peoples and a pool of trainers
and facilitators in MMSEA and on exchange and communication
about ongoing research and development activities.
The coordinators of the network support
the information exchange, coordinate regional activities
(training, concept development etc.) and help to inform
about results and outcomes, but do not engage in own
research or development projects or act as a project
office. 5. We will only establish a small secretariat
in Chiang Mai hosted by IMPECT (with minimum staff)
to provide support to regional and in-country activities.
Chiang Mai will be the hub, facilitating communication
and cooperation between different country groups.
To make the network sustainable in
the long run we will aim for strengthening the local
capacities and skills (also through the regional trainer
pool), handing over training activities to local resource
persons including Indigenous peoples and by developing
a scheme of sharing costs using local resources of the
The network will mobilise local resources like local expertise,
existing project funds, and support local training events
entirely funded by the existing institutions and projects.
By offering advice to development projects we aim for obtaining
extra funding to achieve a percentage of local funding for
network activities. By orienting indigenous community development
plans we will disseminate concepts and methods of protecting,
preserving and promoting IK within ethnic communities, which
do not require external funding but more the commitment
of the local communities.
Challenges and dangers
There are three major processes that impact on the continuation
and validity of Indigenous Knowledge in communities in MMSEA,
(1) discrimination against local and indigenous knowledge
systems by the dominant or mainstream culture, including
also the internalisation of perceived inferiority; (2) the
right to the continuation of traditional livelihoods, cultures
and beliefs being ignored or dismissed by nation states
pursuing a development path that insists on assimilating
ethnic and cultural differences and separating people from
nature; and (3) the growing globalisation of markets and
appropriation of local resources and knowledge by outsiders
and ideologies offering a uniform and so called superior
Western ideal of urban life.
Our challenge is to strengthen indigenous knowledge as an
integral part of indigenous cultures and societies, and
as a means of providing better livelihoods. This requires
that indigenous and ethnic communities are themselves aware
of these dangers to their cultures, and actively work to
protect themselves from these influences. This involves
documenting their own knowledge, involving all generations
in the protection of IK by influencing the education of
their children and organising themselves to protect their
livelihoods against external impositions. Given the dynamic
nature of knowledge systems, indigenous and ethnic communities
require the space and support necessary to experiment within
their own Knowledge System through experimentation, exchange
with other communities and through dialogue with open-minded
External to the communities themselves, networks of indigenous
peoples need to have the means and materials necessary to
show the validity of their cultures and knowledge in a modern
and global world and eliminate the arrogance of decision-makers
and outsiders, who have devalued and even persecuted indigenous
There exist methods of facilitation, which create a process
of revitalisation within communities, and can assist them
to face the challenges ahead. These methods use tools coming
from the participatory learning and action approach (PLA),
which combine the representation of own knowledge and visualisation
of concepts (language) with dialogue and organisation processes
within ethnic communities. It is the application and transfer
of these methods of facilitation that this network aims
to achieve, thus placing the required tools in the hands
of those who most need them.