Indigenous peoples and local communities

The involvement of indigenous peoples and local communities is a prerequisite for sustainable mountain development. The traditional knowledge and food production systems of indigenous and traditional mountain communities provide important lessons on how to adapt to climate change, and are a reflection of value systems that place ecosystem preservation at the centre of their belief systems.

For indigenous peoples and local communities living in mountain areas, land, water and forests are not simply natural resources to be used. As their ancestors before them, today’s mountain dwellers understand that their well-being, their group 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 local farmers in mountains around the world 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. These agricultural systems contribute to the protection of ecosystems, with tangible benefits also for communities downstream. In fact, it is widely recognized that while indigenous peoples only make up 5% of the world’s population, they are considered custodians of as much as 80% of the world’s biodiversity.

Therefore, mountain-dwelling indigenous peoples and local communities serve as custodians of traditional knowledge and biodiversity, including agro biodiversity. It is important to recognize in indigenous mountain communities that men and women often have different areas of knowledge, experience and responsibility that contribute to preserving biodiversity, therefore special attention should be given to the knowledge and contributions of indigenous women.

Despite the demonstrated importance of indigenous food systems and the broader set of cultural practices from which they derive, these are in danger of being transformed beyond recognition by the demographic, economic and environmental changes underway in mountain areas today. Many indigenous mountain peoples are losing their lands as a result of phenomena such as encroachment, forced displacement, rural-to-urban migration and soil degradation. Indigenous foods, stigmatized as ‘foods of the poor’, are often abandoned in favour of non-local foods that may be more readily available or convenient to cook but often contain high levels of sugar and fat and have relatively low nutritional value. This phenomenon compounds the problem of relatively high rates of iodine and vitamin A micronutrient deficiencies found in impoverished mountain communities.

With climate change scenarios strongly suggesting that if current trends continue, extreme weather events are likely to become ever 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. The Mountain Partnership advocates for global attention and tangible commitments from the international community to achieving sustainable mountain development. This includes the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in responding to climate change adaptation, as stipulated by the UNFCCC COP21 Paris Agreement, and the right of indigenous peoples to their land, territories and resources, as stipulated by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Mountain Peoples Map

 

COP15 should protect mountain landscapes, says new IIED publication

COP15 should protect mountain landscapes, says new IIED publication

news

The new global biodiversity framework (GBF) due to be agreed at negotiations known as COP15 in Montreal in December, and aimed at halting and reversing the loss of nature, needs to protect biodiversity-rich mountain landscapes and the Indigenous People and local communities that govern them, according to a new...

Read more »
Mountain resolution approved at the United Nations

Mountain resolution approved at the United Nations

news

The Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) of the United Nations General Assembly approved the new resolution on sustainable mountain development on 22 November 2022 during its seventy-seventh session. The resolution, which was co-sponsored by 110 States, discusses the social, environmental and economic statuses of mountain peoples and ecosystems and...

Read more »
United Nations General Assembly Resolution: Sustainable Mountain Development (2022)

United Nations General Assembly Resolution: Sustainable Mountain Development (2022)

publication

Resolution approved by the United Nations General Assembly on sustainable mountain development at seventy-seventh session. A/C.2/77/L.34/Rev.1

Download here

Read more

Download »
Women Move Mountains photo contest opens

Women Move Mountains photo contest opens

peak to peak

The November 2022 issue of Peak to Peak announces the opening of the International Mountain Day 2022 photo contest, "Women move mountains". Top news stories spotlight countries' mountain advocacy efforts in Nepal and Romania and continue with updates on Mountain Partnership members' projects in Ecuador and Tajikistan. Peak to Peak...

Download »
“Minga” for the sustainable development of mountains in Ecuador

“Minga” for the sustainable development of mountains in Ecuador

news

On 13 September 2022, the Community of Practice Minga de la Montaña (Minga of the Mountain) was launched in Latacunga, Ecuador, with the participation of 120 people.

Minga is a tradition of several Indigenous Peoples of South America that stands for community and collaborative work for purposes of social utility or...

Read more »
Global Meeting provides new momentum for mountains

Global Meeting provides new momentum for mountains

peak to peak

The October 2022 issue of Peak to Peak shares the highlights from the recent Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership held on 26-29 September 2022 in Aspen, United States of America. Top news stories include an overview of the high-level discussion on mountains hosted by the Government of Kyrgyzstan...

Download »
« Previous 1 2 3 4 5 ... 26
Home > mountain-partnership > Our work > Indigenous People