July 2009

Indigenous health part 1: determinants and disease patterns
M. Gracey and M. King, The Lancet, Vol. 374, Issue 9683: 65-75, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60914-4

Indigenous health part 2: the underlying causes of the health gap
M. King, A. Smith, M. Gracey, The Lancet, Vol. 374, Issue 9683: 76-85, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60827-8

These reviews examine the health standards of the world’s 400 million indigenous people and look into the underlying causes of health disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Connecting poor health standards of indigenous peoples worldwide with loss of culture, the authors note that “indigenous peoples worldwide have undergone rapid culture change, marginalization and absorption into the global economy, with very little respect for their autonomy. These profound transformations have been linked to high rates of depression, alcoholism, suicide and violence in many communities, with the most pronounced effect on youth.” Calling for more culturally appropriate ways to interact with and treat Indigenous peoples, in part 2 the authors cover, among other issues, indigenous notions of health and identity, and whole health and healing. It is noted that traditional teachings and knowledge provide a basis for positive self-image and healthy identity. Summary of indigenous health part 1 … Summary of indigenous health part 2 …

Group of Technical and Legal Experts on Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources
16 June – 19 June 2009 (Hyderabad, India)

The final report of the Group of Technical and Legal Experts on Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources, established in the framework of the CBD negotiations on an international regime on access and benefit-sharing, is available online. Download the report [doc] …

Lamy to Meet with WTO Membership on IP Issues; Breakthrough Unlikely
IP Watch, 25 July 2009

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy was expected to inform members, on Monday, 27 July 2009, that months of informal consultations on two key intellectual property issues on which a majority of governments would like a clear negotiating mandate have not yet resulted in an agreement. One of the issues is the requirement for patent applications to disclose the origin of genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge used in the application, linked to the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Many disagreements seem to remain, however proponents are hopeful that high-level attention to the subject will help start progress toward resolution in the future. Read the article …

Back to the wild
Fiji Times, 23 July 2009

SUVA, FIJI: Conservation experts participating in the Island Species-Led Action course, organized from 6-15 July 2009, in Fiji, by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, in partnership with the National Trust of Fiji and the University of the South Pacific, heard that the area’s natural and wildlife resources are the most important economic resource available to its people. According to Professor Randolph Thaman of the University of the South Pacific “if we can maintain and reclaim our traditional knowledge and practices, we will have a living pension fund that is free from inflation … our traditional understanding of the value of our natural resources has supported us for centuries. And in the 21st century, these resources still provide most of our income …” Read the article …

International Society of Ethnobiology 2010 Congress
19 May – 14 May 2010 (Tofino, British Columbia, Canada)

In preparation for its 2010 Congress, the International Society of Ethnobiology has circulated the first call for contributions. Proposals for congress session are due 31 July 2009. Proposals for individual contributions are due 18 September 2009. Proposals can be submitted at: ice2010 (at) tbgf.org

The overarching theme of the 12th ICE Congress is Hishuk-ish tsa’walk, a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations phrase that embodies the concept of “everything is one,” the understanding that everything is connected and nothing is isolated from other aspects of life surrounding it and within it. The sub-themes include: conserved and protected areas and people; cultural transmission of knowledge in protecting and restoring biocultural diversity; and traditional foods and food sovereignty. Contributions that do not fall within one of the three sub-themes are also welcome. Congress organizers particularly encourage submissions on: putting ideas into practice and using practices to inform research, policy, education and action for the stewardship of biological and cultural diversity and ecosystem health; and adaptive capacity and using cultural knowledge to adapt to local, regional and global changes.

Download the Call for Sessions [pdf] and the Session Proposal Form [doc] … Download the Call for Individual Contributions [pdf] and the Individual Contribution Proposal Form [doc]

IPACC Congress in Mali finishes with commitment to human rights in Africa
IPACC news release, 25 July 2009

BAMAKO, MALI: The Congress of the indigenous peoples of Africa coordinating committee (IPACC) drafted a strategy and action plan for accelerating the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Africa. Participants noted that culture and traditional are dynamic: valuable traditions need to be safeguarded, while harmful traditions, including female genital mutilation, need to be stopped or transformed by the communities. Read the news release …

 Saving plant species gets a boost at a Greek bazaar
DW-World.de, 21 July 2009

PARANESTI, GREECE: Peliti, a Greek community group preserving and exchanging seeds of traditional, local varieties, has been organizing annual gatherings where people can exchange local seeds. Read the article … Peliti’s website …

State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2009
Minority Rights Group International, July 2009

This report, published in collaboration with UNICEF, focuses on education for minority and indigenous children. The report includes a chapter on promoting mother tongue education, as well as a statistical analysis and ranking of Peoples under threat. It highlights interventions that have proved effective in addressing educational inequities that confront minority and indigenous groups, including bilingual programmes; and details international standards laying the foundation for rights-based policies that stress the importance of cultural pluralism and the abolition of segregation in schooling. Download the report … Read a UNICEF release on the report … Read a related IPS article …

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