Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples
MAY 31, 2014
We, over 100
indigenous peoples and traditional farmers from 25 communities in 10 countries speaking
22 languages, together with civil society organisations and research
institutions, gathered in Bhutan in the communities of Jangbi and Ura from May
26 to June 1, 2014, to analyze the impacts of recent climatic changes on Mother
Earth and on the livelihoods and cultures of indigenous peoples in mountain
regions, and to develop responses to this crisis.
communities include the Monpas and Uraps of Bhutan; the Naxi and Zhuang of
China; the Kumaon, Lepcha, Limboo, Monpas, Newar and Sartang of India; the Batken,
Kochkor, and Kopro-Bazar from Kyrgyzstan; the Herowana-Ubaigubi, Jiwaka and
Yupna of Papua New Guinea; the Rasht Valley, Shughnan and Wakhan Valley communities
of Tajikistan; Quechua communities of the Potato Park from Peru; the Mintapod
community of the Philippines; the Tayal, Kanakanava and Pangcah of Taiwan; and
the Pgakenyau Hinladnai of Thailand.
gathering took the form of a “Walking Workshop”, which provided the appropriate
methods and tools for an effective exchange of ideas and experiences, the
airing of common problems and a collective brainstorming on possible solutions.
It included food and video festivals and direct interaction with the people of
Jangbi and Ura. This creative tool for networking and promoting our special
indigenous spirit and sense of mission concluded in the formation of an
International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples. We are happy to present
to the international community this promising new network on the occasion of
the 14th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology.
We are also
happy to announce that we have initiated a unique seed exchange program between
the Potato Park in Peru, the communities in Yunnan, China and the Ura and
Jangbi communities in Bhutan. This exchange will be expanded to other members
of the network, being mindful of local ecosystems, culture and indigenous
peoples’ intellectual property rights.
biocultural systems are home to many indigenous cultures and languages, and are
rich but fragile repositories of cultural and biological diversity, water and
other critical ecosystem services. Of unique importance are the indigenous
agricultural traditions that have provided us all with important food crops
critical for the food security of the world. These are the result of the
traditional knowledge and innovation systems of our peoples. The survival of
our knowledge systems is critical for the survival of humanity.
We found that
in many mountain regions, indigenous and traditional cultures already face
drastic changes in their food and agricultural systems, including changes in
rainfall patterns, increased temperatures and increased pests and diseases. For
example: a 50-60% decrease in water sources in the Eastern Himalayas; extreme
drought in SW China; extreme rainfall in Taiwan; extreme typhoons in the
Philippines; and rains arriving too late or too early in many cases. In Quechua
communities, potato cultivation is moving up in altitude due to increased
temperatures and pests and diseases; in Papua New Guinea animals that people
depend on for food are migrating to higher levels due to increased
temperatures; while unusual weather patterns are affecting forest ecology in
Thailand and crops in Kyrgyzstan. As a result, the often-intimate connections
between people and agricultural crops are strained, as are the
community institutions, traditional values and spiritual beliefs that
we are suffering disproportionately from climate change impacts, we contribute
the least to global emissions; nevertheless we have been marginalized from
participating in the development and implementation of policies, programs,
plans and actions related to our local adaptation.
emerging International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples concerned for the
future of mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of our communities, and in
the spirit of solidarity and reciprocity, we call upon governments, research
organisations, academics, civil society organisations and the international
the sacred nature and inherent rights of Mother Earth, particularly to its
richness and the welfare of all its children, including plants, animals,
rivers, mountains, birds, wind, rocks, spirits, etc., and adhere to the
principles of reciprocity and balance with nature, which nurtures life for
and respect the worldviews and cultural and spiritual values of indigenous
traditional farmers, and recognize the sacred nature of their seeds.
and promote the Biocultural Heritage rights of indigenous peoples and
communities and fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
the use of indigenous and traditional languages as living libraries of critical
knowledge associated to mountain biocultural heritage;, and provide adequate
funding for indigenous educational processes, learning models and pedagogical
practices, involving the youth and elders in knowledge transmission.
the contributions of traditional knowledge to the conservation and sustainable
mountain ecosystems and their agro-biodiversity, and support the creation and
management of traditional knowledge banks that would allow us to share
appropriate adaptation strategies and continue innovating.
processes for bridging traditional knowledge and science to create effective
solutions for the conservation and sustainable use of agro-biodiversity, food
security and climate change adaptation; while respecting our right to reject the
use of technologies such as Genetically Modified Organism and Geo-engineering
for being an attack to the integrity of Mother Earth.
and promote cross-cultural exchanges of knowledge, innovations and technologies
indigenous and traditional farming communities from mountain ecosystems to
enable them to find appropriate and effective solutions to common challenges.
activities around the International Year of Family Farming, and recognize the
contributions of traditional agricultural systems to national food security by
knowledge into sectoral policies, plans and programs at the national level.
seed exchanges and the repatriation of seeds from international gene banks to
options for adaptation and ensure local food sovereignty and the food security
of the world.