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Second International Learning Exchange in Tajikistan
2015-09-11

Given their widespread reliance on natural resources and ecosystems, indigenous mountain communities are especially vulnerable to, and disproportionality impacted by, climate change. Many mountain communities have experienced continuous and severe impacts on their ecosystems due to the climate change-induced temperature rises in higher altitudes. Because of this, these communities play a critical role in climate change adaptation. The communities process rich Biocultural heritage – historical knowledge about local ecosystems, traditional farming practices that conserve natural resources, traditional crop varieties adapted to a range of conditions, and cultural and spiritual values which promote equilibrium with nature and social equity -- to produce methods and strategies for climate change adaptation.

In 2014, 25 indigenous mountain communities from 10 different countries met in Bhutan and participated in the Mountain Communities Initiative Workshop. These communities which included farmers and organizations from Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Peru, Taiwan, Tajikistan and Thailand came together and discussed the impacts of climate change and exchanged adaptation methods based on Biocultural heritage information, as well as local seed systems. The workshop culminated in the establishment of the International Network of Mountain Indigenous People (INMIP), and developed the Bhutan Declaration on Climate Change and Mountain Indigenous People[1] which provides the vision for INMIP. The INMIP aims to share knowledge about climate change adaptation, exchange seeds to protect food sovereignty, and to promote the protection of Biocultural heritage, local seed systems and farmers’ rights.

To continue this crucial dialogue, and in preparation for COP 21 Paris, the INMIP is currently holding another week-long learning exchange workshop in Tajikistan from the 11 – 18 of September.  A “walking workshop” methodology will be used throughout the week, as was used in Bhutan, where workshop discussions are held at important sites in the community, including sacred sites, farmers’ fields and water sources, to stimulate a farmer to farmer knowledge exchange. The workshop is being held in two contrasting mountain communities in both the Rasht Valley (mid altitude) and the Pamirs (high altitude). General goals of the workshop include hopes to consolidate INMIP as an international network, deepen the knowledge exchange on the impacts of climate change on indigenous mountain communities, and empower such communities to respond using their Biocultural heritage. In addition, food and cultural festivals will be held in the evenings, where communities will share their traditional foods, songs and dances in order to learn about, bond over and celebrate the Biocultural diversity represented at this year’s INMIP workshop in Tajikistan.

The specific objectives of the workshop are:

1. To enhance the capacity of indigenous mountain communities to address the impacts of climate change, as well as preserve their Biocultural heritage and local seed systems through exchange of knowledge, seeds and tools.

2. To further develop the network objectives, structure, coordination and strategic plan.

3. To generate evidence of the impacts of climate change on mountain communities and the role of indigenous knowledge, crops and Biocultural heritage in adaptation, in order to inform relevant international policy processes such as the UNFCCC and the FAO Treaty.


[1] The Declaration calls on governments to support adaptation based on traditional knowledge that is specific to local contexts. It also calls for the respect of indigenous peoples’ world views and cultural and spiritual values that are a core foundation for their adaptive capacity.




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