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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#MountainsMatter Photo Contest

#MountainsMatter Photo Contest

news

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a #MountainsMatter Photo Contest in celebration of International Mountain Day that is observed every year on 11 December 2018. Participants from around the world are encouraged to submit photos showing why mountains matter to them. Approximately 13 percent of the world’s population...

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Call for papers, mountain research and development

Call for papers, mountain research and development

news

Mountain Research and Development (MRD) are pleased to announce the call for papers on the role of culture in transformation towards sustainable development in mountains. Mountain communities are undergoing rapid sociocultural change, caused by drivers such as outmigration, urbanization, and increasing insertion into the market economy. Mountain cultural heritage...

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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 hosted the Seminario Acceso a las Montañas “Mountain Access Seminar”, on 3 August 2018. The Andes stretch along the eastern border of Chile; mountains are...

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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

Our Journey 2017: Mountain Partnership Secretariat

news

The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) reflects on its key achievements in promoting sustainable mountain development last year in its 2017 annual report. “Our Journey 2017: Mountain Partnership Secretariat Annual Report”, the publication documents the Secretariat’s work in the areas of advocacy, communication and knowledge management, promoting International Mountain Day, brokering...

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