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ANDES en la COP21 de París
2015-12-09

Indigenous spiritual and cultural values to guide climate change adaptation

Paris, Dec 7, 2015

Respect for the spiritual values and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples is a key component in the response to climate change, as was today asserted by an agreement between the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) of Union Theological Seminary, the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University and the Indigenous Peoples Biocultural Assessments Initiative (IPBCCA) of Asociacion ANDES. These organizations are joining efforts to promote the cultural and spiritual values of indigenous peoples as central elements of the struggle against global warming.

 “Indigenous spirituality seeks powerful connection to larger purposes and meaning, celebrates biodiversity and promotes inclusion”, says Karenna Gore, Director of CEE.  She added, “The world especially needs that kind of worldview at this time. This great body of knowledge has a wealth of adaptive capacity. It not only protects the wellbeing of indigenous peoples; it also promotes an awareness of our deep interconnected relationship with nature that can enhance our world as a whole."

A key goal of the IPBCCA Initiative has been to promote the capacity of spiritual traditions to help with local adaptation to climate change. “Spiritual traditions provide meaning and identity, assist in building resilience in communities that are key for developing locally sound mitigation and adaptation responses”, says Alejandro Argumedo, Director of Asociación ANDES, an NGO based in Cusco, Peru and serving as Secretariat of the IPBCCA initiative. “Concepts of ecosystem and community-base adaptation intersect with indigenous concepts and experiences of spirituality; this provides a unique framework to harmonize wellbeing and resilience in climate change adaptation responses”. The IPBCCA is an indigenous led initiative carrying out local assessments in all regions of the world to provide a deeper understanding of local processes and how they relate to climate change. Its goal is to develop locally sound mitigation and adaptation responses for indigenous communities, and feeding into effective policies across scales.

Technical and scientific support to these local assessments will be provided by the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University, to enhance the results of the assessments and provide evidence for effective local adaptation. “Local approaches demonstrate the importance of valuing both western and traditional knowledge” says Ben Orlove of CRED. “Concrete and practical examples, like these local assessments of the IPBCCA, release Indigenous knowledge from preconceptions that it is ‘exotic’ or romantic. They remind us that we scientists and traditional knowledge holders are all grappling with the same questions about climate change. We both take the view that this is an event subject to external control of a transcendental nature”.

“Spirituality and traditional knowledge are dynamic, evolving expressions of Indigineity” concludes Argumedo. “Spirituality and ancestral knowledge connect past, present and future. They remind us that there are many ways of knowing, that science too has limitations, and that dominant world cultures need not be accepted uncritically”. Mindahi Bastida, Otomi spiritual leader and scholar in Residence at CEE adds: “Indigenous spirituality draw our attention to our common humanity, to the importance of family and community, to the importance of celebration and ritual, and to the values of humility and compassion. These cultural practices provide some measure of certainty in an otherwise uncertain world that climate change has brought upon us”.

The agreement of collaboration between the CEE, CRED and ANDES will serve as a platform to exchange information on climate change, identify critical institutional and technical gaps, and explore the role that indigenous peoples' spiritual traditions, scientific understanding and traditional knowledge can play in the development of culturally appropriate responses to climate change. A synthesis report of the IPBCCA initiative will be produced for early 2016 as a result of this agreement.

Contacts:

Karenna Gore, Director, Center for Earth Ethics (CEE):

kgore@uts.columbia.edu

+1 212 280 1425

Ben Orlove, Director, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED)

bso5@columbia.edu

+1 212 854 1543

 Alejandro Argumedo

alejandro@andes.org.pe

+51984706610

                                                           IPCCA en la COP21

The Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative (IPCCA) seeks to link traditional and western knowledge in order to influence local, national and international levels of decision-making on Climate Change adaptation. Under the IPCCA model, Local Assessments have been carried out by project partners in Peru, Panama, Ecuador, North-West America, Finland, Africa, India, Thailand, China and the Philippines, under the coordination of the IPCCA Secretariat, hosted by the Asociacion ANDES, in Cusco, Peru.

The desire to influence policy took representatives of the IPCCA and ANDES to the COP21 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in November and December 2015. This event brought together world leaders and policy makers, as well as a large number of indigenous, farmer and environmental groups. IPCCA and ANDES shared their experience and perspectives at a number of events, including

•    November 26-27 –UNESCO side event “Resilience in times of uncertainty: Indigenous Peoples facing climate change”
•    November 28 – December 1 – side event “Convention of the guardians of mother earth”, hosted by the French organization for Indigenous Peoples and Planete Amazon
•    December 1 – “International Network of Living Labs of Climate Change and Adaptation”,  workshop organized by IPCCA and ANDES, with the Peruvian Ministry for Environment
•    December 1 – IPCCA hosted an event in the Indigenous Pavilion, in the Climate Generations Space, open to public
•    December 3 - “Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Futures: The IPCCA Synthesis Report”
•    December 4 – “Integrating ecosystem- and community-based adaptation for systemic solutions”, organized by Norwegian organization focusing on Climate Change, Bellona/CICERO
•    December 7 - side event organized by International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED)
•    December 8 – “Supporting poor, vulnerable and indigenous communities”, hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
•    December 8 – panel presentation at event hosted by The Consortium for the sustainable development of the Andean eco-region (CONDESAN)

Thanks to these capable presenters, the IPCCA and ANDES were well represented at the COP 21:

•    Alejandro Argumedo (IPCCA and ANDES, Peru)
•    Krystyna Swiderska (IIED, UK)
•    Mindahi Bastida (Center for Earth Ethics, Columbia University, USA)
•    Ben Orlove (School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, USA)
•    Yiching Song (Chinese Center for Agricultural Policy, China)
•    Lino Mamani Huarka (ANDES, Potato Park, Peru)
•    Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri (Indigenous Peoples Foundation for Education and Environment, Thailand) 

Following the COP21, IPCCA, ANDES and partner organizations, including the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIB), will continue to forge connections and promote sharing of knowledge between local communities, scientists and policy makers, to incorporate the concerns, knowledge and strategies of indigenous peoples and smallholder farmers in climate adaptation.

Following the COP21, IPCCA, ANDES and partner organizations, including the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIB), will continue to forge connections and promote sharing of knowledge between local communities, scientists and policy makers, to incorporate the concerns, knowledge and strategies of indigenous peoples and smallholder farmers in climate adaptation.

For more information, contact Alejandro Argumedo at (+51 84) 24 5021, or alejandro@andes.org.pe







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Calle Ciro Alegria H-13, Urb. Santa Monica - Wanchaq
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Tel: 51-84-245021
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