Sunday, July 25, 2021
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HomeWorldOn Climate Change Frontline, Indigenous Provide Pointers To Save Planet

On Climate Change Frontline, Indigenous Provide Pointers To Save Planet


Indigenous people living on the frontline of climate
change could offer potentially ground-breaking insight into
biodiversity protection and sustainability, but they
urgently need help to withstand a growing number of threats
to their way of life, the Food and Agricultural Organization
(FAO) said on Friday.

From the Arctic to the Amazon,
the Himalayas to the Sahel, the 11 indigenous communities
featured in a new FAO study are
revealed as “self-reliant and resilient, living
sustainably and in harmony with their ecosystems, even when
inhabiting harsh
environments”.

Self-sufficient

“They
generate hundreds of food items from the environment without
depleting natural resources and achieve high levels of
self-sufficiency”, said the UN agency, which explored
ancestral knowledge in the Solomon Islands among the
Melanesians who combine agroforestry, wild food gathering
and fishing to generate 70 per cent of their dietary
needs.

In Finland’s Arctic region, FAO also noted that
the Inari Sámi people generate 75 per cent of the protein
they need, through fishing, hunting and herding.

After
an analysis of the growing threats confronting the
communities and their sustainable ways of life, the authors
of the report
maintained that indigenous peoples worldwide play a vital
role in countering global threats such as the destruction of
nature, climate change, biodiversity loss and the risk of
future pandemics.

But their traditional ways of life –
“one of the most sustainable, self-sufficient and
resilient on the planet” – are at high risk from climate
change and the expansion of various industrial and
commercial activities, FAO warned.

There are some
478 million indigenous peoples in the world, according to
FAO, whose research also explored reindeer herding by the
Inari Sámi people in Nellim, Finland, the forest-based food
system of the Baka indigenous people in South-eastern
Cameroon and the Milpa food system of the Maya Ch’orti’
people – also known as “the maize people” – in
Chiquimula, Guatemala.

Future
threatened

“Despite surviving for centuries,
Indigenous Peoples’ agri-food systems are likely to
disappear in the next years due to a number of drivers
threatening their future,” said Juan Lucas Restrepo,
Director-General of FAO partner, the Alliance of
Bioversity-International and CIAT.

FAO’s report also
offers insight into the Khasi, Bhotia and Anwal peoples of
India, the Kel Tamasheq people in Mali, Colombia’s Tikuna,
Cocama and Yagua peoples and the Maya Ch’orti’ in
Guatemala.

Their traditions combine different
sustainable food generation techniques such as hunting,
gathering, fishing, pastoralism and shifting cultivation,
along with adaptive practices including nomadism, which are
vital to linking food generation to seasonal cycles in a
resilient way.

Resilience, adaptability

“Being
adaptive is the main resilient element of these food
systems,” said Anne Nuorgam, Chair of the UN Permanent
Forum on Indigenous Issues. “Indigenous peoples adapt
their food generation and consumption to the seasonality and
natural cycles observed in their surrounding ecosystems, not
in the opposite way as most other societies do.”

Ms.
Nuorgam underscored how the “deep observation of the
environment” that had been accumulated generation after
generation were key to guaranteeing biodiversity, along with
a clear understanding of the elements in different
ecosystems.

© Scoop Media

 



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