Indigenous Peoples

Director-General emphasizes the value of indigenous Peoples' knowledge

17/10/2022 - 

Rome - Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge are central to a sustainable future, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said Monday inside a nomadic tent set up by Sámi people living in the Arctic Circle. 

“Indigenous knowledge is very focused on ecosystems, and also food, and those are both core to FAO,” the Director-General said in the tent, which is also home to the mobile BOAŠŠU FoodLab for the duration of the World Food Forum hosted by FAO this week. 

Qu pointed out that as a genetic scientist by training, he considers biodiversity is a gene bank, and is aware that Indigenous Peoples are guardians to almost 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity. “Their value is beyond cultural,” he said. “It is important for indigenous knowledge to be shared,” he added. “Indigenous people are in my heart and in my soul.”

Young representatives from Indigenous Peoples from around the world participated in the event and indicated their interest in discussing with peers the way to protect and bolster their agrifood systems and life ways.

“I do think we offer solutions,” said Silje Karine Muotka, President of the Sámi Parliament, the representative body for the Indigenous People of Norway. 

Miguel Jorge García Winder and Morten von Hanno Aasland, Permanent Representatives to FAO and the Rome-based UN agencies for their countries of Mexico and Norway respectively, participated in the event which they helped sponsor. 

When joined with present-day capacities, indigenous knowledge is “the path to sustainability,”” said Ambassador Aasland. 

Indigenous youth will launch a campaign for their food systems at a World Food Forum event on Tuesday. The webcast is here

Last year FAO published Indigenous Peoples’ food systems: Insights on sustainability and resilience from the front line of climate change, which offers a comprehensive overview of the common and unique sustainability elements - in terms of natural resource management, market access,dietary diversty and governance – for the livelihoods of around 476 million people around the world. 

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