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 Access Seminar in Chile

Mountain Access Seminar in Chile

news

The government of Chile, the national committee for mountains in Chile with the support of the UN Environment, GEF project biological mountain corridors is hosting the Seminario Acceso a las Montañas “Mountain Access Seminar”, which will be held 3 August 2018. The Andes stretch along the eastern border...

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Mountain Partnership at the United Nations

Mountain Partnership at the United Nations

peak to peak

Issue 118 – Month 8 – Year 2018

The August 2018 issue of Peak to Peak provides a brief overview of the "Leading Sustainable Mountain Development" side event that took place 16 July 2018 at the High-Level Political Forum in New York, USA. The newsletter continues with stories about the Andean monitoring...

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Our Journey 2017: Mountain Partnership Secretariat Annual Report

Our Journey 2017: Mountain Partnership Secretariat Annual Report

publication

The Mountain Partnership Secretariat Annual Report outlines its key achievements in promoting sustainable mountain development last year in its 2017 annual report. The publication documents the Secretariat’s work in the areas of advocacy, communication and knowledge management, promoting International Mountain Day, brokering joint action and leading capacity development initiatives

Compiled by...

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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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The Mountain Institute wins St Andrews Prize

The Mountain Institute wins St Andrews Prize

news

The Mountain Institute, a Mountain Partnership member, is the 2018 winner of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment. Their winning project integrates 2 000 years of indigenous knowledge of water management in the Andes with contemporary science and technology to create hybrid solutions that improve water security,...

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