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FAO launches the Global-Hub on Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems

Members States endorsed the establishment of the FAO Global-Hub on Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems during the 27th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG)

06/10/2020 - 

The Global-Hub brings together indigenous experts and organizations, universities, research centers, UN agencies and FAO experts to gather knowledge and inform the policy debate on sustainable food systems.

Evidence from indigenous peoples’ food systems can play a significant role in informing the transformation of food systems, making them more sustainable and respectful of nature”, stressed Jamie Morrison, Director, of FAO’s Food Systems and Food Safety Division.

During the 27th session of FAO’s Technical Committee on Agriculture (COAG), FAO launched with Member countries the Global-Hub on Indigenous Food Systems, a knowledge center fully dedicated to bridge the gap between academic and indigenous peoples’ scientific and ancestral knowledge.

The Committee on Agriculture stressed the key role of indigenous peoples as protectors of biodiversity and knowledge holders about natural resource management, innovations and food systems, and the need for scientists and stakeholders to follow interculturality in their understanding of indigenous food systems. 

Within the plenary discussions about ¨Operationalizing a food systems approach to accelerate delivery of the 2030 Agenda¨, the representatives of Argentina, Algeria on behalf of the Africa Regional Group, Australia, Canada, Germany on behalf of the European Union-27, Guinea, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Russian Federation highlighted the importance of indigenous peoples’ knowledge, welcomed the creation of the Global-Hub on Indigenous food systems, and acknowledged the importance of increasing indigenous peoples´ participation in FAO policy processes, Committees and in UN frameworks, particularly in the UN Food Systems Summit

The Global-Hub will create synergies for more research on indigenous food systems to take place, as well as to provide evidence-based messages and technical advice to global and regional policy debates”, added Edmond Dounias, Research Director at the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD).

Additionally, the Committee on Agriculture acknowledged the gaps and challenges faced by indigenous peoples on food security, access to health and education further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and stressed the importance of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues´ recommendation to FAO of having indigenous peoples participate directly in policy dialogues.

The transformation of food systems should include different types of knowledge to elaborate new research frameworks involving both researchers and indigenous peoples”, emphasized Myrna Cunningham, indigenous leader from the Miskito people and chair of the Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC), during the preparation meeting of the Global-Hub.

The Global-Hub will promote the preservation of indigenous peoples’ territorial management practices and food systems that have fed indigenous peoples for centuries while preserving 80% of the remaining biodiversity on the planet. It will interface with non-indigenous academic and research networks in order to develop an evidence-based narrative that respects and recognizes the contributions that indigenous peoples have been making to the sustainability and conservation of the planet for hundreds of years.

“The disappearance of indigenous peoples’ knowledge is accelerating at an alarming rate. Despite prevailing for centuries, indigenous peoples’ food systems are being increasingly affected by climate change, extractive industries, displacement, intensive livestock-agriculture and land-use changes,” emphasized, Phrang Roy Coordinator of the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (TIPS), as co-founder Member of the Global-Hub

The Global-Hub brings together FAO and 17 institutions with hands-on research and analysis on indigenous peoples and their food systems. Ranging from micronutrient analysis of food composition to field research about horizontal and vertical transmission of knowledge. Organizations like INFOODS, Bioversity-International, FILAC, CIFOR-ICRAF, IRD, TIPs, AIPP, CENESTA, Gaia Amazonas, the Saami Parliament in Finland, UNFCCC, UNESCO, UNPFII-UNDESA and the universities of Massey, Greenwich, Monash and McGill-CINE, will share their research agendas and network of experts.

Particularly, the Global-Hub will provide inputs to support the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit and the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition of the Committee of World Food Security (CFS). Additionally, the Global-Hub will make its expertise available to the UN Decade of Indigenous Languages and the UN Decade of Ecosystems Restoration, among others.

Anna Lartey, Director of FAO’s Nutrition and Food Division, further emphasized indigenous peoples’ knowledge potential to support the transformation of food systems and to deliver healthy diets.Marcela Villarreal, FAO´s Director of Partnerships and UN Relations, thanked the COAG members for their support of the Global Hub as “it will allow the opportunity for a meaningful exchange between knowledge systems, building on the contribution of indigenous peoples´  food systems to the global debate, from the perspective of their sustainability, protection of biodiversity, integration of health aspects, and capacity to innovate. It will be a tremendous resource for the debate leading to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit”.

Indigenous Peoples: FAO’s allies in the eradication of hunger and malnutrition

“Many indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge, governance, and customary systems have proven to be dynamic, results oriented, and site-specific. Their knowledge is key to advance the eradication of hunger and malnutrition”, highlighted Yon Fernández-de-Larrinoa, Head of the FAO Indigenous Peoples Unit.

Indigenous peoples are gatekeepers of cultural diversity, comprising over 476 million people, speaking 4 000 languages and belonging to 5 000 different peoples spread across the world. Their food systems have sustained them for thousands of years, generating food in harmony with nature while preserving the environment. Indigenous peoples are recognized as the custodians of 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity, their territories often coinciding with the best-preserved areas in the world.



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