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.

Malawi forms national mountain committee

Malawi forms national mountain committee

news

Malawi will form a national committee on mountains, decided the participants of an inception workshop on sustainable mountain development (SMD) held on 29 September 2017. The participants also agreed that there is a need to develop a national strategy on SMD to address the challenges facing the country’s mountain ecosystems...

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8th International Meeting of Rural Andean Peoples

8th International Meeting of Rural Andean Peoples

event

The eighth International Meeting of Rural Andean Peoples will be held in San Pedro De Atacama, Chile on 12-15 October 2017. Organized by the village of Lickanantay, Red de Agroindustria Rural del Perú (REDAR Perú), the Programme for the Development of Rural Agricultural Production of the Peruvian Ministry...

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Enter the #MountainsMatter video contest

Enter the #MountainsMatter video contest

peak to peak

Issue 109 – Month 10 – Year 2017

The October issue of Peak to Peak launches the #MountainsMatter video contest, to bring attention to the plight of mountain peoples and ecosystems for International Mountain Day 2017. The newsletter continues with stories about the University of the Mountains’ initiative to...

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Forum on mountain snow leopard opens

Forum on mountain snow leopard opens

peak to peak

Issue 108 – Month 9 – Year 2017

The September issue of Peak to Peak announces the opening of the International Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Forum, held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The newsletter continues with stories about how Mountain Partnership (MP) members can register for the upcoming Global Meeting, an...

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7th edition of African Mountains’ Echo out now

7th edition of African Mountains’ Echo out now

news

The seventh edition of “African Mountains’ Echo: the Voice for Sustainable Mountain Development in Africa”, produced by the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) in collaboration with the Africa Mountains Regional Forum with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), is now available online.

This issue...

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Interning for the MP Secretariat

Interning for the MP Secretariat

news

The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) is especially grateful for the support of its volunteers and interns, including Diego Laurenti Sellers, whose internship ends in August 2017. Diego is from Rome, Italy and has dual citizenship in Italy and the United States of America. Prior to joining the MPS team, Diego...

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