Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

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Wednesday 8 July - 14:30-16:00 UNESCO Fontenoy - ROOM I

2238 - Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Science in Collaboration for Our Common Future

Parallel Session

Lead Convener(s): N. Beriot (MEDDE, 92055 La Defense, France)

Convener(s): V. Gupta (National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai, India), A. Poelina (Madjulla, PO BOX 2747, Broome WA, Australia)

14:30

Introduction remarks

N. Beriot (MEDDE, 92055 La Defense, France)

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Introduction remarks
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14:40

Special Rapporteur on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples

V. Tauli-Corpuz

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Special Rapporteur on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples
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14:50

Collaboration of Indigenous Science and Western Science to Protect Landscapes and Our Common Futures

A. Poelina (Madjulla Inc , Broome, Australia)

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Collaboration of Indigenous Science and Western Science to Protect Landscapes and Our Common Futures

A. Poelina (1)
(1) MADJULLA, PO BOX 2747, Broome WA , Australia

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Dr Anne Poelina (Nyikina Traditional/First Nation Custodian)

Indigenous people of the world have unique knowledge systems that can contribute to all fields of scientific endeavors, particularly of generational experiences of being living witness to changing biodiversity and cultural landscapes as documented in our report titled Indigenous Engagement with Science towards deeper understanding (see http://www.innovation.gov.au).

The major challenge of generating and maintaining Indigenous knowledge systems and intergenerational practice is not simply an issue of science engagement; it is an issue of international importance for the earth’s co-existence with humanity. The solutions presented by Indigenous researchers/scientists, and knowledge holders are founded in a trans-disciplinary approach of collective wisdom, an approach that recognizes and celebrates unity in diversity.   The opportunity needs to be realized to invest in future partnerships which value and include Indigenous and western scientist/researchers and practioners working together.

These partnerships must recognize and respect the earth has rights and we as world citizens must guarantee custodianship of the commons, reliable prosperity and sustainable world development. The United Nation Declaration of Human Rights (1948) promotes the wellbeing and sacredness of all life not just human life (see http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ ). In the words of twenty two Indigenous Philosophers in the Redstone Statement (2010) ,we are at a tipping point, and it is therefore essential for non-Indigenous and Indigenous, native and non-native people to act now, to hold and care for Mother Earth in order to protect the sacredness of all life (see http:// ww.Indigenousenvirosummit10.unt.edu). This world belongs to all of us and we must again learn to live, love and work together to protect the sacredness of all life.   

As traditional custodians in Australia we recognise and value the protection of all inhabitants who are connected to ancient geological and living water systems; rivers, arteries giving life to our dry sun burnt country.  We have a responsibility as scientist, researchers and practioners to generate multiple bodies of information and practice to inform our role not as activist but rather as actionist. I am passionate about working in a dialogic action way to bring about transformational change in the recognition and promotion of the multiple values of this uniquely rich Australian cultural landscape. Late last year with fellow Australians we showcased and shared the places we love, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBh0gnwzuwI

The Kimberley region of Western Australia is considered one of the last great wildernesses of the world. Vast areas of the region were National Heritage Listed in 2011 for multiple world values containing ; vast ramsar wetlands a rich feeding ground for extensive species of migratory birds, the world’s largest dinosaur footprints and extensive trackways, ancient rock art, pristine coast lines, rich ecosystems, and unique living Indigenous cultures co-existing with Asian and European heritage. We need transparent participatory planning, which values existing natural assets as capital and includes people in planning.  My vision is the planning, development and delivery of a Maroodwarra  (Fitzroy River) and the Broome Coast Global Geo Park.  Investment needs to be mobilised to conduct a Feasibiity Study to build on the recognition of national cultural and envrionmental heritage landscapes. The time is right to build a body of evidence, for valuing these multiple assetts as a geo world parks. We need to map alternative strategies for innovation and diverse economies on country if we want reliable prosperity and a sustainable common future against climate chaos.

 

 

15:00

Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Collaboration: Essential for Addressing Climate Change in the 21st Century

J. Hook (Citizen of the Cherokee Nation, El Indio, Texas, United States of America)

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Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Collaboration: Essential for Addressing Climate Change in the 21st Century

J. Hook (1)
(1) Citizen of the Cherokee Nation, El Indio, Texas, United States of America

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Indigenous peoples worldwide possess extensive knowledge that is essential for environmental and human preservation in the coming century.  Many scientists, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, believe that we are at a “tipping point” in maintaining the health of the environment, and consequently, of humanity, and that action must be taken immediately.  In order to best utilize Indigenous cultural and cognitive resources in addressing Climate Change issues, respectful, trusting, mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships must be built.  This requires that “Western” scientists and policy-makers develop skills for working effectively in Indigenous communities and understand their shared interests.  While Traditional peoples and national or state governments are frequently in conflict with each other, examples of collaboration can be found. 

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami provided one of the most powerful illustrations of the value of Indigenous knowledge.   Indigenous communities fared far better than others, and commanded the attention of “Western” scientists, especially in the United States.   

In meetings with Indigenous communities in Sarawak (Malaysia) subsequent to the tsunami, with the Tatar-Baskiri villagers of Ufa-Shigiri (Siberia, Russia), and with many American Indian Nations in the central United States, I kept hearing the same shared concerns:  the need for cultural preservation, protection of Indigenous land, and a desire to engage with other Indigenous peoples and with Non-Indigenous leaders.  Exploration of these shared issues led to requests for mutual dialogue, and from 2007-2010 four annual Indigenous Student Videoconferences were held.  Participants from Comanche and Kiowa American Indian Nations, Siberian Baskiris and Tatars, and Sarawakian communities discussed Climate Change issues and related impacts on their communities.  They shared various culturally-specific responses.  Simultaneously, Traditional leaders expressed the belief that environmental threats needed to be addressed immediately.  These concerns were clearly articulated in 2010 through the “Redstone Statement,” a product of the International Summit on Indigenous Environmental Philosophy held in a Kiowa American Indian community of central Oklahoma, United States.  Individuals from Indigenous communities met initially to compile case studies of climate change impacts.  In the first meeting, however, a representative from the American Indian Ponca Nation challenged us to draft a statement articulating perspectives on environmental concerns and necessary responses.  The subsequent process produced a consensus document describing a critical “tipping point,” the product of environmental and cultural imbalance.  The document was translated into Spanish and Russian, and is being used as a basis for education and action in Indigenous communities from Russia to Australia to Mexico. 

Effective partnerships are only possible when "Western" scientists come to understand and respect the concerns expressed by Indigenous voices.  Non-Indigenous scientists, policy-makers and politicians must recognize the importance of Indigenous participation in planning and implementing mitigation and adaptation efforts.  This can only be accomplished if the non-Indigenous put effort into learning how to work effectively in Indigenous settings.  An understanding of cultural perspectives such as holistic world-views, the importance of maintaining balance, intimate relationships with the environment and sacred places, and long-term sustainability is essential to building authentic relationships.  Additionally, non-Indigenous partners must spend time on-site in Indigenous communities, meeting with elders and other knowledge-keepers.  Finally, mechanisms and venues must be created through which Indigenous and non-Indigenous representatives can meet as equals to plan, explore options, draft strategies, and begin implementation projects.

There are examples of successful collaboration.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Tribal Science Council began bringing Indigenous scientists and knowledge-keepers together with non-Indigenous scientists for collaborative efforts in 1999.  Effective partnering is not only possible, it is essential!

15:15

Indigenous knowledge from Land to lab to land: A framework to improve the flow for climate change adaptation

V. Gupta (National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)

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Indigenous knowledge from Land to lab to land: A framework to improve the flow for climate change adaptation

V. Gupta (1)
(1) National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Economics, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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Rich traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is not only vital for sustainability of livelihoods of indigenous people, it is also vital for the sustainability of natural resource. The efficiency and efficacy of this traditional knowledge on agricultural farms, forests, water, households, community resources etc are to be well recognised in the interest of the humanity and sustainability at large. Redstone Statement recognises that indigenous people across the globe have been confronting climate change and variability on regular basis due to heavy dependence on natural resources for their livelihoods. These hardships beside others have made them develop deep understanding of the natural resources and the climate they live in. Their TEK includes prediction of disasters, mitigation and adaptation to climate change besides conserving and preserving of natural resources. Indigenous communities have been transmitting knowledge for generations regarding judicious use of resource and restricting resource depletion.

The indigenous knowledge prevailing in customs, beliefs, practices and wisdom is rediscovered in modern science. Indigenous knowledge is documented and transmitted through ethos, epics and ancient texts. The modern science is experimented, analysed and documented in the labs under ideal resource conditions whereas indigenous knowledge is practiced on forests, fields, and farms under actual climatic and resource conditions. Therefore new knowledge of modern science is to be built up on indigenous knowledge without discrediting it. For sustainable planet, we need all stocks of indigenous and innovative knowledge which gets enhanced through continuous flow of it and supported by institution which is ethical in its framework. The ethno-ecological knowledge combined with ethno economics provides better understanding and choices to resolve these issues.

In India these aboriginal people are known as atavika and adivasi (indigenous), vanvasi (forest dwellers), girijan (hill people). These tribal communities as Bishnoi, Bhil, Gond, Santals, Bhotiya and Khasis are living majorly in states of Rajasthan,Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Meghalya and Himalya region in harmony with nature. The farmers in arid and semi-arid regions rotate crops and change the dates for sowing seeds as per climate conditions across India, Koli community of Mumbai change their fish catch pattern to enhance availability of fish in future, Navdanya programme promotes biodiversity conservation with the help of local tribal people. Religious and tribal traditions such as temple forests and sacred groves, rainwater harvesting, maintaining landscape heterogeneity and biodiversity through varietal flora and fauna and growing medicinal plants are just few examples of their efforts.

The aboriginal communities in developing countries like India face many issues alongside their hardship of livelihood like inequality in the access of resources, unequal distribution of growth, increasing urge of growth and consumerism all have impacted the livelihood dependent on natural resources as well as the sustainability of available resources. In many cases natural resources are reaching to the stage of economic depletion. The valuation and integration of their knowledge systems is not only desirable but essential for equity, empowerment, and security of underprivileged community besides natural resource management. Endeavours of integrating traditional ecological knowledge with western science requires due recognition for local long lasting cultural and institutional framework. Within this framework, their security of land, food, energy and livelihood and knowledge is to be ensured through policy framework. In this discussion I propose to provide a framework for traditional ecological knowledge secur

15:25

Integration of Indigenous Knowledge with ICTs in coping and adapting to effects of climate change and variability on Agriculture in Kajiado County, Kenya

C. Manei (University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya)

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Integration of Indigenous Knowledge with ICTs in coping and adapting to effects of climate change and variability on Agriculture in Kajiado County, Kenya

C. Manei (1)
(1) University of Nairobi, Agricultural economis, Nairobi, Kenya

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Abstract:

Climate change threatens production’s stability and productivity. In many areas of the world where agricultural productivity is already low and the means of coping with adverse events are limited, climate change is expected to reduce productivity to even lower levels and make uncertainities in agriculture higher. To help in coping with the negative effects of climate change, local people employ traditional indigenous-knowledge based practices. This local based knowledge, which has evolved over several hundreds of thousands of years in tandem with the domestication of plants and animals, is critical for responding to climate change and variability effects at the local level. ICTs have the potential improve access to this knowledge among other relevant information and social networking opportunities. The research was carried out to assess relevant Indigenous knowledge used by Indigenous people to cope and adapt to climate change and variability effects therefore managing risks and uncertainities in agriculture as well as evaluate opportunities for utilizing ICTs to communicate this information. Results indicates that farmers have shifted to farming historically known drought tolerant crops, rain water harvesting, irrigation, use of organic manure, traditional methods of treating crops pests and diseases, change in planting time, preservation of pastures, indigenous food preservation methods, vaccination ,farmers are also increasingly relying on their own indigenous knowledge in predicting weather patterns compared to scientific knowledge. Various communication mechanisms taking advantage of ICTs such as radios and mobile phones are emerging as viable tools for dissemination of relevant information to the farmers because they are affordable and use of local language which is easily understood by farmers.

15:35

Forest Carbon in Amazonia: The Unrecognized Contribution of Indigenous Territories and Protected Natural Areas

W. Walker (The Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, United States of America), A. Baccini (The Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, United States of America), S. Schwartzman (Environmental Defense Fund, Washington D.C., United States of America), S. Rios (Instituto del Bien Común/IBC, Lima, Peru), M. A. Oliveira-Miranda (Provita, Caracas, Venezuela), C. Augusto (Instituto Socioambiental/ISA, São Paulo, Brazil), M. Romero Ruiz (Fundación GAIA Amazonas, Bogotá, Colombia), C. Soria Arrasco (Instituto del Bien Común/IBC, Lima, Peru), B. Ricardo (Instituto Socioambiental/ISA, São Paulo, Brazil), R. Smith (Instituto del Bien Común/IBC, Lima, Peru), C. Meyer (Environmental Defense Fund, Washington D.C., United States of America), J. C. Jintiach (Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica/COICA, Quito, Ecuador), E. Vasquez Campos (Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica/COICA, Quito, Ecuador)

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Forest Carbon in Amazonia: The Unrecognized Contribution of Indigenous Territories and Protected Natural Areas

W. Walker (1) ; A. Baccini (1) ; S. Schwartzman (2) ; S. Rios (3) ; MA. Oliveira-Miranda (4) ; C. Augusto (5) ; M. Romero Ruiz (6) ; C. Soria Arrasco (3) ; B. Ricardo (5) ; R. Smith (3) ; C. Meyer (2) ; JC. Jintiach (7) ; E. Vasquez Campos (7)
(1) The Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, United States of America; (2) Environmental Defense Fund, Washington D.C., United States of America; (3) Instituto del Bien Común/IBC, Lima, Peru; (4) Provita, Caracas, Venezuela; (5) Instituto Socioambiental/ISA, São Paulo, Brazil; (6) Fundación GAIA Amazonas, Bogotá, Colombia; (7) Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica/COICA, Quito, Ecuador

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More than half (52%; 4.1 million km2) of Amazonia’s tropical ecosystems are contained within an extensive network of 2,344 Indigenous Territories (ITs) and 610 Protected Natural Areas (PNAs) spanning nine South American nations.  These cornerstones of Amazon conservation are widely recognized for their exceptional biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity, and serve as both social and natural barriers to frontier expansion and fire.  Carbon sequestration is a widely-acknowledged and increasingly-valued function of tropical forest ecosystems; however, until recently the information needed to assess the carbon storage capacity of Amazonian Indigenous Territories (ITs) and Protected Natural Areas (PNAs) in a global context remained either lacking or out of reach.  Here, as part of a novel north-south collaboration among Amazonian indigenous and NGO networks, scientists, and policy experts, we link newly compiled spatial data sets on pantropical aboveground forest carbon density, Amazonian ITs and PNAs, and risks to their integrity from current pressures and/or near-term threats.  We show that the nine-nation network of nearly 3,000 ITs and PNAs stores more carbon above ground (47,363 Mt) than all of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia combined (40,797 Mt), and despite the ostensibly secure status of these conservation cornerstones, a conservative risk assessment considering only ongoing and planned development projects puts nearly 20% of this carbon at risk, encompassing an area of tropical forest larger than Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador combined.  Our analysis suggests that the carbon stored across these landscapes is of a magnitude not previously appreciated in global terms, and is sufficient to either destabilize or contribute to the stabilization of the planet’s atmosphere depending on the collective impact of ongoing and planned development projects.  International recognition of and renewed investment in this globally vital network are therefore critical to ensuring their continued contribution to maintaining cultural identity, ecosystem integrity, and climate stability.

15:45

Traditional knowledge and benefit-sharing in the 2015 agreement

A. Savaresi (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom)

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Traditional knowledge and benefit-sharing in the 2015 agreement

A. Savaresi (1)
(1) University of Edinburgh, School of Law, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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Scientists have increasingly recognized the role of traditional knowledge as a means to adapt to climate change. Yet, the international climate regime presently says nothing on how traditional knowledge may be deployed and protected to tackle climate change. This state of affairs may, however, be about to change. States are considering including references to the use of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities in the new international agreement on climate change to be adopted in December 2015.

While it is too early to say whether references to traditional knowledge will be included in the new climate agreement, it is important to reflect on the implications of this possible development in the light of extant international instruments, especially those concerning biodiversity and human rights, which establish obligations to protect, maintain and promote traditional knowledge. This paper will therefore reflect on the scope for elaborating a common approach to the use of traditional knowledge under the climate regime, building on extant international law.

One area of crucial legal development on traditional knowledge is that concerning the interplay between the consent of indigenous peoples and fair and equitable benefit-sharing, as means to recognise, support and reward indigenous peoples and local communities for the contribution of their traditional knowledge to addressing global challenges. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), for example, requires its Parties to promote the application of traditional knowledge with the approval and involvement of its holders, and to encourage the sharing of benefits from its use with indigenous peoples and local communities. The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the CBD requires its Parties to ensure that the use of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources for research and development purposes (including for the development of climate-related technologies) is subject to the prior informed consent (or approval and involvement) of indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as to benefit-sharing. Equally, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) recognizes farmers’ right to participate equitably in the benefits arising from the utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. The need to maintain traditional, often underutilized, crop varieties in the face of climate change has been explicitly recognized in the ITPGR framework. The ITPGR Benefit-sharing Fund has supported a number of projects focusing on management and use of plant genetic resources by indigenous peoples and traditional communities for adaptation to climate change. Finally, even though it does not make explicit reference to benefit-sharing, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples asserts indigenous peoples’ right to maintain, control, protect and develop their traditional knowledge.

Presently, the negotiating text for the 2015 agreement mentions traditional knowledge in connection with adaptation to climate change, capacity building, and technology development and transfer. It does not say that indigenous peoples and local communities should receive a share of the benefits accrued from the utilization of traditional knowledge, or that they should consent before others can make use of such knowledge. The proposed paper will investigate how the law and practice emerged under the CBD, the Nagoya Protocol, the ITPGR and international human rights law could or should influence the development of the climate regime with regard to the use of traditional knowledge for climate adaptation purposes. It will argue that biodiversity and human rights law and practice embody internationally agreed understanding on matters upon which states have already reached painstakingly negotiated consensus. As Parties to the climate regime consider including traditional knowledge in the 2015 agreement, it is important to consider lessons that can be learnt from extant approaches to account for crucial equity considerations associated with the use of  traditional knowledge.