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      Guiding principles for transdisciplinary sustainability research and practice

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          Abstract

          • Transdisciplinary sustainability scientists are called to conduct research with community actors to understand and improve relations between people and nature. Yet, research hierarchies and power relations continue to favour western academic researchers who remain the gatekeepers of knowledge production and validation.

          • To counter this imbalance, in 2018 we structured a multi‐day workshop to co‐design a set of principles to guide our own transdisciplinary, international and intercultural community of practice for biocultural diversity and sustainability. This community includes community collaborators, partner organizations, and early career and established researchers from Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Germany, Mexico and South Africa. In 2021, we undertook online critical reflection workshops to share our research experiences and deepen our intercultural understanding of the application of the principles.

          • Through these exercises, we adopted seven principles for working together that include: honour self‐determination and nationhood; commit to reciprocal relationships; co‐create the research agenda; approach research in a good way: embed relational accountability; generate meaningful benefits for communities; build in equity, diversity and inclusion; and emphasize critical reflection and shared learning. We explain these principles and briefly highlight their application to our research practices.

          • By sharing these principles and associated practices, we seek to facilitate debate and spur transformations in how we conduct international and intercultural sustainability research. Our efforts also illustrate a strategy for on‐going knowledge co‐production as we cultivate safe and ethical spaces for learning together. Lessons learned may be particularly useful to those who engage in intercultural, collaborative research to advance sustainability transformations.

          Read the free Plain Language Summaryfor this article on the Journal blog.

          Resumen

          • Los científicos que trabajan en sostenibilidad de manera transdisciplinaria están llamados a realizar investigaciones con actores comunitarios para comprender y mejorar las relaciones entre las personas y la naturaleza. Sin embargo, las jerarquías de investigación y las relaciones de poder continúan favoreciendo a los investigadores académicos occidentales que siguen siendo los guardianes de la producción y validación del conocimiento.

          • Para contrarrestar este desequilibrio, en 2018 estructuramos un taller de varios días para co‐diseñar un conjunto de principios para guiar nuestra propia comunidad de práctica transdisciplinaria, internacional e intercultural para la diversidad biocultural y la sostenibilidad. Esta comunidad incluye colaboradores comunitarios, organizaciones socias e investigadores establecidos y de carrera temprana de Argentina, Bolivia, Canadá, Alemania, México y Sudáfrica. En 2021, llevamos a cabo talleres de reflexión crítica en línea para compartir nuestras experiencias de investigación y profundizar nuestra comprensión intercultural de la aplicación de los principios.

          • A través de estos ejercicios, adoptamos siete principios para trabajar juntos que incluyen: honrar la autodeterminación y la nación/nacionalidad; comprometerse a establecer relaciones recíprocas; co‐crear la agenda de investigación; incorporar un rendimiento de cuentas honesto entre investigadores y comunidades; generar beneficios significativos para las comunidades; incorporar equidad, diversidad e inclusión; y enfatizar la reflexión crítica y el aprendizaje compartido. Explicamos estos principios y destacamos brevemente su aplicación a nuestras prácticas de investigación.

          • Al compartir estos principios y prácticas asociadas, buscamos facilitar el debate y estimular las transformaciones en la forma en que llevamos a cabo la investigación internacional e intercultural sobre sostenibilidad. Nuestros esfuerzos también ilustran una estrategia para la coproducción continua de conocimiento a medida que cultivamos espacios seguros y éticos para aprender juntos. Las lecciones aprendidas pueden ser particularmente útiles para aquellos que se dedican a la investigación intercultural y colaborativa para avanzar en las transformaciones para la sostenibilidad.

          Abstract

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          Communities of practice

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            Principles for knowledge co-production in sustainability research

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              Weaving knowledge systems in IPBES, CBD and beyond—lessons learned for sustainability

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                Author and article information

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                Journal
                People and Nature
                People and Nature
                Wiley
                2575-8314
                2575-8314
                August 2023
                June 30 2023
                August 2023
                : 5
                : 4
                : 1094-1109
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Environment and Sustainability University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada
                [2 ]Estudios Rurales y Asesoría Campesina, A.C. Oaxaca Mexico
                [3 ]Natural Resources Institute University of Manitoba Winnipeg Canada
                [4 ]Prince Albert Model Forest Association Inc. Prince Albert Saskatchewan Canada
                [5 ]Formerly Canadian Commission for UNESCO; Presently, Environment and Climate Change Canada Ottawa Ontario Canada
                [6 ]Mistawasis Nêhiyawak Mistawasis Nêhiyawak Saskatchewan Canada
                [7 ]Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Pensamiento Latinoamericano/CONICET Buenos Aires Argentina
                [8 ]The Resilience Institute Canmore Alberta Canada
                [9 ]INDAYU, A.C. Oaxaca Mexico
                [10 ]African Climate and Development Initiative University of Cape Town Cape Town South Africa
                [11 ]Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal Santa Cruz Bolivia
                [12 ]UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability: From Local to Global, Department of Biological Sciences Brock University St. Catharines Ontario Canada
                Article
                10.1002/pan3.10496
                af4dd262-78b3-4df3-9d7e-6432ed54437f
                © 2023

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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