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Going local

Friday, June 20th, 2014
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Traditional farmers from mountainous communities of Peru, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea have come together to share traditional knowledge based climate change adaptation.

An International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples was formed in Bhutan last week to address the impacts of climatic changes on their food and farming systems and the adaptation responses needed.

The network also developed the “Bhutan Declaration on Climate Change and Mountain Indigenous Peoples”. The Declaration calls on governments to support adaptation based on traditional knowledge which is specific to local contexts, and to respect indigenous peoples’ worldviews and cultural and spiritual values that lie at the heart of their adaptive capacity. It also calls for the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

At the Bhutan workshop, the communities also agreed to exchange seeds, to increase the chances of producing food in the face of more extreme weather.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that the impacts of climate change increase with altitude. This means that mountain ecosystems are the first to be affected and will experience the most severe changes. The 5th IPCC report also recognises the role and value of local and traditional knowledge in climate change adaptation, while noting that such knowledge is often not included in adaptation planning.

The workshop in Bhutan was co-organised by Asociacion ANDES, IIED,  International Society for Ethnobiology and the National Biodiversity Centre of Bhutan.

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