November 2009

Climate Change Experiences in Northern Australia – Health, Adaptation, Forest Management and Global Relevance
UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative, November 2009

Edited by Kirsty Galloway McLean, this publication contains the proceedings of the International Public Forum on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change – a collaborative effort between Charles Darwin University (CDU), the United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies Traditional Knowledge Initiative, and the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), held on 3 April 2008, at CDU. Speakers were invited to share case studies on practical experiences, particularly focusing on the impacts of climate change on indigenous peoples, and adaptation, mitigation and opportunities for carbon projects. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring several international experts, who provided commentary on the similarities of indigenous experiences of climate change worldwide, and discussed the implications of a rapidly changing world on the application of traditional knowledge. Download the publication [pdf] …


Impact of ICT on Indigenous Cultures: Rejuvenation or Colonization?
Global Voices, 17 November 2009

OTTAWA, CANADA: Authored by Aparna Ray, this post is part of a series commissioned by the International Development Research Centre on the future of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and development. Through examination of existing literature, the author aims to contribute to the cultural debate surrounding deployment of ICT in the field of indigenous knowledge and culture, and respond to questions including: can ICT truly preserve and protect distinct identities and culture? Does ICT by its very intervention introduce an element of westernization amidst the indigenous culture that it purports to preserve and protect? What is the optimum balance between preserving traditional knowledge and embracing remix culture? Read the post …

World Bank Affirms Support to Indigenous Peoples in Designing Climate Change Responses
World Bank press release, 18 November 2009

WASHINGTON, USA: A roundtable discussion on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change was organized by the World Bank and First Peoples Worldwide at World Bank headquarters in Washington. Opening the roundtable, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the indigenous peoples carry a “disproportionate share of the burden of climate change effects.” He said that indigenous communities have long experience in managing natural resources and adapting to climate change, further noting that “learning from indigenous peoples will make our discussions richer and our actions more productive.” The event aimed at mapping the way forward for an Indigenous Peoples Climate Action Fund (IPCAF). The IPCAF, to be implemented by First Peoples Worldwide with the World Bank playing an advisory role, aims to provide funds to: document indigenous peoples’ responses to climate change; integrate local indigenous knowledge on climate change adaptation and mitigation into project designs and implementation; and strengthen the capacity of indigenous peoples’ communities to influence decision-making and engage in dialogue on climate change at the national and international levels. Read the press release …

Listen to the Earth, Say Indigenous Peoples
IPS, 19 November 2009

MÉRIDA, MEXICO: Representatives of the world’s indigenous communities met at a session of the Native Lands and Wilderness Council at the 9th World Wilderness Congress, held in Mérida, Mexico, from 5 to 13 November 2009. Julie Cajune, of the Flathead Nation and coordinator of the session in Mérida, said indigenous peoples should be the principal agents of conservation, but at the same time there must be mechanisms for decision-makers to hear and take into account their points of view. Wilderness lands, which in many cases are indigenous territory, are faced with problems of all kinds. A series of examples highlight how the ways the challenges are dealt with reflect the unique identity of the peoples who inhabit them. Read the article …

International Conference Calls for Concrete Outcomes on TK, GRs & TCEs
WIPO press release, 13 November 2009

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: An international conference on traditional knowledge was held on 13 November 2009, in New Delhi, India, organized by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with WIPO and the Government of India. The conference addressed the state of play in international protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions; and national and community experiences in effective protection of TK and TCEs. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said ongoing WIPO negotiations need to be approached in a constructive manner with a sense of pragmatism. At the international level, solutions must be found at a level of generality that allows national jurisdictions the flexibility to operate. Gurry applauded India’s achievements in establishing frameworks to protect its ancient traditional knowledge systems, such as the “Indian Systems of Medicine” initiative which covers traditional healthcare systems and medicine. He also noted the enactment of legislative protections for traditional knowledge and genetic resources (Biological Diversity Act 2002; Patents (Amendment) Act 2005) and the establishment of a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library to supplement these laws. Read the press release …

Indonesia to host international meeting on traditional knowledge, folklore protection
Xinhua, 21 November 2009

BALI, INDONESIA: A meeting of the Like-Minded Countries on an international legal instrument for the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore is scheduled to be held from 23-27 November 2009, in Bali, Indonesia. Delegates from 33 countries and experts from international organizations are expected to attend the meeting, which aims to prepare a draft text for an international legal instrument to be presented at the 15th session of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, to be held from 7-11 December 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. Read the Xinhua article … Read a Jakarta Post article on the issue …

Inuit practices “assaulted” by global warming: ICC
Nunatsiaq online, 17 November 2009

NUNAVUT, CANADA: “The Arctic is at the epicenter of climate change. Inuit traditions and subsistence practices have already been assaulted,” said Jimmy Stotts, President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), representing Inuit in Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. ICC’s six-point “call to global leaders” comes less than three weeks before the Copenhagen Conference and aims at drawing attention to the needs and establish the right of Inuit communities to benefit from the billion-dollar climate change adaptation fund, which is expected to be part of a new global plan on climate change. Inuit leaders also offered to help the climate change deliberations in Copenhagen with their traditional knowledge of the environment. “We offer our traditional knowledge, which is based on living closely with the land and sea over many generations, and is passed down from grandmother to granddaughter, grandfather to grandson,” said Tatiana Achirgina, ICC vice-chair for Chukotka. Read the article …

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