Indigenous peoples


The involvement of indigenous and traditional mountain communities is a prerequisite for sustainable mountain development. The culture of indigenous and traditional mountain communities is predominantly agrarian, shaped by harsh climates and rough terrain as well as the seasonal rhythms of planting, harvesting and transhumance.

For these peoples, land, water and forests are not simply natural resources to be used. As their ancestors before them, these communities understand that their well-being, their sense of identity and their children’s future depend on the careful stewardship of the environment. This ‘intangible heritage’ also enriches the global community, providing inspiration and insights for realizing a more sustainable relationship between humankind and the environment.

Mountain peoples cultivate a wide variety of crops that are adapted to a range of different elevations, slope conditions and microclimates. Moreover, indigenous and traditional mountain farmers have explicitly designed their agricultural systems to protect the soil from erosion, conserve water resources and reduce the risks of disasters triggered by natural hazards.

Therefore, traditional mountain communities serve as custodians of traditional knowledge on how to farm in difficult mountainous conditions and of important reservoirs of agricultural biodiversity. It is important to recognize in indigenous mountain communities that men and women have different areas of knowledge, experience and responsibility that contribute to preserving biodiversity.

The nutritional value of local foods is not determined simply by the different types of local crops, but by the way herbs and spices, the oils, meat, vegetables and condiments are combined and cooked (almost exclusively by women). This traditional cuisine, along with the knowledge and skills required to prepare it, represents another vital aspect of the intangible cultural heritage of mountain peoples. Unfortunately indigenous mountain food systems are at risk. Indigenous foods, stigmatized as ‘foods of the poor’, are often abandoned in favour of modern foods that are more convenient to cook but often contain high levels of sugar and fat and have relatively low nutritional value. This phenomenon compounds the problem of the relatively high rates of iodine and vitamin A micronutrient deficiencies found in impoverished mountain communities.

With climate change scenarios strongly suggesting that extreme weather events are likely to become more common and more intense in mountain areas, it is necessary integrate indigenous agricultural systems and their historical perspectives on climate variability as key-tools in climate change adaptation strategies.

World Mountain Forum 2018

World Mountain Forum 2018

event

Under the theme “Mountains in a changing world: strengthening partnership and pathways towards a thriving mountain future”, the fourth World Mountain Forum will be held on 23–26 October 2018, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, hosted by the Government of Kyrgyzstan with support from the Government of Switzerland, the...

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Mountain Futures 2018

Mountain Futures 2018

event

In March 2016, stakeholders from 35 countries established the Mountain Futures Initiative, as part of the inaugural Mountain Futures Conference in Kunming, China. The initiative seeks to foster local innovations for resilient livelihoods in mountain regions worldwide; it aims to identify, develop and scale up mountain-based solutions to global problems.

In...

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Call for participation, IPCC special report

Call for participation, IPCC special report

peak to peak

Issue 114 – Month 4 – Year 2018

The April issue of Peak to Peak opens with a call to contribute literature on mountains for possible inclusion in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. The newsletter continues...

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Mountain women advocacy at CSW62

Mountain women advocacy at CSW62

news

A 26-member delegation from Utah Valley University (UVU) participated in the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters on 19-21 March 2018. The priority theme of CSW62 was “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment...

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Explorers carry MP flag to the Arctic

Explorers carry MP flag to the Arctic

news

“The Last Ice” is a project of exploration, adventure and science on some of the last frozen lakes of the northern hemisphere. A team of three athletes – climber and author Paku Crestas, entrepreneur and writer Albert Bosch and climber Pepe Ivars – with vast experience in extreme environments will...

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Empowering indigenous women

Empowering indigenous women

news

On 12-13 January 2018 during the High Level Forum “Empower indigenous women to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in America Latina and the Caribbean”, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched the advocacy campaign "Make them visible, empower them". The campaign seeks to increase the...

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