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Krystyna Swiderska

PhD Candidate in Biocultural Heritage, Coventry University

Krystyna Swiderska is an expert in traditional knowledge and biocultural heritage of indigenous peoples and local communities. She is currently leading a British Academy funded project on Indigenous Biocultural Heritage for Sustainable Development at the International Institute for Environment and Development, which aims to catalyse the establishment of biocultural heritage territories and integrate indigenous wellbeing concepts into the Sustainable Development Goals. She is also conducting a PhD in biocultural heritage at Coventry University's Centre Agroecology, Water and Resilience.

Her interests are in supporting indigenous peoples’ struggles to secure rights to land, resources and self-determination, enhancing understanding of the linkages between culture and biodiversity, and enhancing support for in situ conservation of evolving gene banks under community stewardship. She is working with partners and indigenous communities in Peru, Kenya, India and China to support participatory action research to establish collectively managed landscapes and indigenous enterprises in centres of origin and diversity of major food crops.

Krystyna has engaged in Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) policy processes for several years, particularly on article 8(j) on traditional knowledge and access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing. She has also been active in UNFCCC and UNESCO forums to enhance recognition of the role of traditional knowledge and crops in climate adaptation; and in the CBD-UNESCO joint programme of work on linking biological and cultural diversity. She is currently working with ANDES (Peru) and University of Leeds to develop a global biocultural heritage labelling system.


  • –present
    PhD Candidate in Biocultural Heritage, Coventry University