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.

Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

event

The India China Institute (ICI) at The New School, the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC), American University’s Center for Latin America and Latino Studies (CLALS) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) announce an international conference on the theme of mountains...

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IMD celebrated in over 40 countries in 2016

IMD celebrated in over 40 countries in 2016

peak to peak

Issue 101 – Month 2 – Year 2017

The February issue of Peak to Peak takes readers on a tour of International Mountain Day (IMD) celebrations held throughout the world. The newsletter opens with a story about the overall global success of IMD 2016, which saw over 200 events...

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Chile’s public consultation on mountain policy

Chile’s public consultation on mountain policy

news

Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz, has announced that Chile will be the first country in South America to have a national public policy on sustainable mountain development. To decide the final policy, Chile has launched a public consultation, encouraging Chilean citizens to make suggestions and help...

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IMD celebrated in over 40 countries in 2016

IMD celebrated in over 40 countries in 2016

news

More than 200 events marked International Mountain Day (IMD) around the world on 11 December 2016, when mountaineers, mountain lovers, governments and civil society groups gathered to celebrate mountain environments and peoples. Celebrations took place in more than 40 countries, including Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Indonesia, Iran, Italy,...

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United Nations General Assembly Resolution: Sustainable Mountain Development (2016)

United Nations General Assembly Resolution: Sustainable Mountain Development (2016)

publication

Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Sustainable mountain development at 71st Session. A/71/463/Add.10

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Online mountain assessment tool launched

Online mountain assessment tool launched

peak to peak

Issue 100 – Month 1 – Year 2017

The January issue of Peak to Peak presents the launch of a new online tool that facilitates international and cross-disciplinary collaboration on the assessment, conservation and sustainable use of mountain biodiversity. The newsletter continues with a call to highlight...

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