April 2007

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has released the first issue of its new Traditional Knowledge newsletter, called Pachamama.

The newsletter includes the following articles:

  • Editorial by Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf
  • TK and biodiversity: a road to success
  • Calendar of events
  • Indigenous and local communities – the human face of climate change
  • IIFB initiative on indicators
  • Sacred sites: our pain, hope and strength
  • Linking networks: sharing ideas on biological and cultural diversity
  • Indigenous people and biodiversity in Quebec
  • Strengthening the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network in Latin America
  • How can indigenous and local communities participate in the work of the Convention?
  • Message of the Executive Secretary of the CBD to the indigenous and local communities of the world.

Indigenous and local communities, governments and stakeholders are encouraged to send articles and photos on their implementation, awareness, outreach and relevant activities for inclusion in future issues.

Download the newsletter in PDF…

Indigenous People’s Rights Ignored Again
Inter Press Service

BERLIN, GERMANY: The rights of indigenous people are given respect in speech after speech, but few countries have signed up to an international convention to protect those rights.

The Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, also known as Convention 169, was proposed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in June 1989. But the convention has been ratified by only 18 countries, mostly developing nations from Latin America.

In Europe, only Norway, the Netherlands and Spain have approved the convention. The German Bundestag (parliament) debated the convention last week, and turned it down.

Indigenous Groups Resist Biodiversity Park
Inter Press Service

BIDOR, MALAYSIA: Semai aborigines, famous to anthropologists for their for non-
aggressiveness, are falling sick from stress brought about by sudden land development that threatens to uproot them. The threat to their way of life comes from a cause that even the Semais say is good — an arboretum called the National Botany Park covering 300 hectares, half of it eating into Semai reservations.

The Semai people, numbering just 15,000 in the world, are semi-settled with some surviving as hunter gatherers while others subsist on the cultivation of manioc and rice, fishing, hunting, and trading jungle produce like rattan. This project will take away nearly half of the Semai ancestral land. “It is not just a question of losing area for gathering food and jungle produce. Without the ancestral land our people’s collective memory will be lost.” In Semai culture every stone, stream and tree tell a story. More…

Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change Front Lines
Environment News Service

OXFORD, UK: The threat of climate change to the world’s indigenous peoples was under the spotlight April 12 and 13 at an international symposium at Oxford University. Participants agreed that communication among indigenous peoples and with scientists and policymakers is critical in adapting to the climate changes already underway and averting the worst consequences of global warming. More…

Traditional knowledge should be valid part of substantiation in health claims evaluations, says EBF
NPI Centre

MONTPELLIER, FRANCE: Traditional knowledge should be equally considered to scientific evidence when evaluating the health effects of botanicals in food supplements, the European Botanical Forum has said. In a statement on the application of the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR), the European Botanical Forum (EBF) insisted botanical knowledge accumulated over the years through practice and experience should be accepted as a valid body of evidence when their nutrition and health claims come under scrutiny by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for marketing approval. More…

The Human Right to Water and Indigenous Peoples
UN Observer

A submission to the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights by the International Indian Treaty Council underscores the urgent need to review current relevant standards impacting this issue, and to conduct a comprehensive study on the human right to water which takes into consideration to concerns, perspectives, expertise and experiences of Indigenous Peoples around the world. It notes that Indigenous Peoples, their relationship with the rivers, streams, waterfalls, lakes, oceans, hot and cold springs, groundwater, rain and snow, coastal seas and sea ice which they have traditionally used and protected since time immemorial provides the basis for their traditional subsistence economies (farming, hunting, gathering, herding and fishing), physical health, sanitation and collective material survival. But this relationship is also a fundamental requirement and prerequisite for their spiritual relationship with the natural world which is, in turn, the basis of their cultural identity, ceremonial practices and sacred responsibility to the survival of their future generations. More…

Meeting alerts:
Pre-conference event at Annual Council of Foundations: “Food Sovereignty, Indigenous People and the Future of Agriculture: Opportunities for New Partnerships”
29 April 2007, Seattle, WA, USA

This event explores ways to work with Indigenous Peoples in North America and globally to support the vibrancy of their traditional agricultural systems and foodways even as these communities adapt to the changing global society. It will be moderated by Ken Wilson PhD, Executive Director of The Christensen Fund.

Linking Circles VI – Weaving a new path in philanthropy
IFIP Annual Conference 2007

7 – 8 May 2007, San Francisco, CA, USA

The sixth annual conference of International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP) will bring together members of the international philanthropic community, and is aimed at assisting donors in better understanding the interconnectedness of economic sustainability and the preservation of traditional lifeways.

The theme for the sixth annual conference, “Weaving a New Path in Philanthropy,” was chosen to symbolize the interrelatedness of IFIP’s work and how we must all work together to achieve our goals. The act of weaving represents strands that cross over and under each other, it not only produces beautiful, well-woven textiles, but in some Indigenous communities, the patterns mirror the social and economic history of the community and the weaver’s life experiences. It best depicts the universal view of many Indigenous communities how all things are interconnected.

Visit the IFIP website…

The President of the Economic and Social Council has appointed eight
members of the Permanent Forum who will serve for a period of three
years, from 1 January 2008 until 31 December 2010. These eight members
were nominated by indigenous peoples organizations.

The members are the following:

  • Mr. Hassan Id Balkassm (Morocco)
  • Ms. Margaret Lokawua (Uganda)
  • Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Philippines)
  • Mr. Lars-Anders Baer (Sweden)
  • Ms. Elisa Canqui Mollo (Bolivia)
  • Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga (Russian Federation)
  • Ms. Tonya Gonella Frischner (United States of America) and
  • Mr. Michael Dodson (Australia)

Visit the UNPFII website…

Pre-registrations for all new Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations and Academics who will be attending the UNPFII Session for the first time will close at the end of the day on Wednesday 25th April 2007.

Meeting alert:
WIPO has announced a forum on subregional cooperation in traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions (folklore) and genetic resources in Montevideo, Uruguay, to be held next week (26 – 27 April 2007). The meeting is titled Foro sub-regional OMPI-ALADI sobre conocimientos tradicionales, expresiones culturales tradicionales (folclore) y recursos genéticos conexos: “Perspectivas para la cooperación regional”.

Visit the WIPO website…

Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group II, Summary for Policy Makers of the Working Group II contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report

The IPCC Plenary approved the Summary for Policy Makers of the Working Group II contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report on 6th April.

The Assessment is of curent scientific understanding of impacts of climate change on natural, managed and human systems, the capacity of these systems to adapt and their vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptability), as well as the negative and positive consequences for ecological systems, socio-economic sectors and human health. The report reviews the already-observed changes due to climate change and assesses future impacts, with a focus on the need for adaptation.

“This IPCC report confirms a message we have been stating loud and clear for a few years now: namely that those least responsible for global warming — the poor, the indigenous communities — are the ones to be the most immediately and severely impacted by it. This is a core equity issue that must be addressed in the international negotiations.” John Drexhage, Director of Climate Change and Energy for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and an expert reviewer of the IPCC Working Group II report.

The report specifically highlights detrimental impacts on traditional indigenous ways of life in the polar regions.

Download the report…

Gorman Art Show seeks to link indigenous experiences around the world

CALIFORNIA, USA: Due to a common history of colonialism and land conflict, the experiences of native peoples around the world are inevitably linked. The artists who contributed to Understandably Connected, an exhibition at the Californian Gorman Museum that opened on 3 April, were inspired by this theme. More…

Climate change threatens traditional way of life for Indigenous Australians

NORTH CAROLINA, USA: Indigenous Australians are among the most vulnerable people in the world to climate change, a new UN report has found. But a report contributor says they could also hold the key to useful information on the environmental impacts of a warming planet. The new IPCC report recognises that globally, Indigenous people’s close connection to the environment has a positive side, including their detailed knowledge of environmental changes – such as changes in cyclone frequency, bird migration, crayfish availability and flowering times – that can feed into scientific research. More…

Protecting resources in Palau
The Honolulu Advertiser

HAWAI’I, USA: The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i is helping to reinvigorate traditional navigation in Palau in return for help with conservation. Palau has an active conservation program that sets aside marine areas as reserves with the specific goal of improving fishing success immediately, and protecting the resource for the future. One key to Palau’s success is the communities that live around the marine ecosystems are demanding the protection of those areas and supporting active monitoring of the progress. More…

Miss Indian Dixie Pageant: showcasing knowledge of traditional customs
Dixie Sun

UTAH, USA: The Miss Indian Dixie Pageant is a scholarship pageant for Native Americans that consists of traditional Native American talents and knowledge of traditional customs. What makes this pageant different from other pageants is that there is a category called the traditional talent, where each girl shows talents form her heritage of the tribe she is from. More…

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