Indigenous peoples and climate change: Conference contributing to COP21 in Paris
Just before the COP21 climate conference, about 600 representatives from indigenous peoples and local communities gathered together with scientists in Paris to highlight practical, community-based solutions and initiatives to address the impacts of climate change and, to reinforce the links between cultural diversity and the sustainability of the global environment.
SwedBio, together with partner organisations Tebtebba Foundation, PASD, African Biodiversity Network, ANDES and the IIED, presented their experiences of mobilizing communities’ knowledge in a panel during the conference “Resilience in a time of uncertainty – Indigenous peoples and climate change”, held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, 26-27 November 2015.
“Biodiversity restoration and traditional knowledge can contribute to solving the climate crisis”, said Florence Daguitan, Tebtebba Foundation. “Some people working on climate change issues do not understand the basic fundamental relations between biodiversity, habitat loss and climate change but for indigenous peoples, in our holistic perspective, it is all connected”.
Indigenous peoples’ biocultural landscapes are built on traditional knowledge that offers great potential for adaptation to global change, at the same time as nurturing a rich biodiversity of species and ecological niches. This knowledge has been shown to be indispensable in observing and supporting science in understanding what is really happening with the Earth’s biodiversity and climate.
The panel presented the first outcomes of communities’ pilot testing of the “Multiple Evidence Base approach”, in which knowledge systems are connected, based on respect and reciprocity, and seen as equally valid and complementary.
The communities of indigenous and local peoples participating in the pilot studies initiate and conduct the research themselves, based on their own needs and priorities. A number of the experiences of mobilizing knowledge in the community include the recovery of lost seeds and the protection and revitalization of sacred natural sites. Others mobilize knowledge as part of the effort to demonstrate the sustainability of traditional management and governance systems. This creates an informed knowledge base for enhanced policies and decisions, at scales beyond the local, that respect and recognize the communities’ traditional skills and rights to governance and resources.
“It is really encouraging that our work with partner organisations and the methods we are developing together with a focus on food, agrobiodiversity and culture make explicit sense for the climate agenda. We will continue putting emphasis on these links in our future work”, said Pernilla Malmer, SwedBio.
The panel session “Connecting diverse knowledge systems for resilience in mountain and forest biocultural systems” was co-hosted by:
Asociación ANDES; Peru
Institute for Environment and Development, (IIED), UK
SwedBio at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden
Tebtebba Foundation, Philippines
Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development (PASD), Thailand