Workshop on the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples
Bhutan, 26 May-1 June 2014
An International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples was formed at a walking workshop which took place in Bhutan from 26 May to 1 June 2014. Twenty-five indigenous mountain communities from 10 countries met to discuss the impacts of climatic changes on their food and farming systems and the adaptation responses needed. The network has been formed in order to exchange seeds and knowledge to achieve food sovereignty and climate change adaptation in mountain environments, and to advocate for community biocultural heritage rights.Climate change threatens mountain ecosystems and the people that depend on them for their livelihoods.
All the communities that participated are already experiencing adverse climatic changes – increased temperatures, erratic rainfall, more extreme events (e.g. drought and typhoons) and increased pests and diseases. The communities from Peru, Bhutan and China had already agreed to exchange seeds at a meeting in Peru last month, to increase the chances of producing food in the face of more extreme weather. The International Potato Center has agreed to facilitate the seed exchange.At the Bhutan workshop, the agreement to exchange seeds was extended to the other communities in the network – from India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
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 that is specific to local contexts, and to respect indigenous people’s world views and cultural and spiritual values that lie at the heart of their adaptive capacity.