December 2009


Using Indigenous Knowledge for Studying Climate Change
National Geographic blog, 17 December 2009

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: Shari Gearheard, a geographer and researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, has proven that native hunters, keen observers of weather and ice, have much knowledge useful to researchers. She says natives have made important observations about changes in sea ice and wind direction. She says Inuit are peripatetic travelers, even in winter, logging in their heads observations over a much finer scale than most scientists normally make. The natives also sometimes notice changed ice and weather patterns that scientists have not yet even thought to study. For example, hunters she interviewed complained about seals sinking, rather than bobbing to the surface as in the past, when speared. At first she couldn’t imagine what change could cause seals to sink. Then she realized that the seal hunters had discovered changes in the salinity, the saltiness, of water just below their perches on sea ice, caused by melting freshwater glaciers. Read the post …

BANGLADESH: Community-Based Climate Strategies Are Key
IPS Terraviva, 19 December 2009

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: Bangladesh has blazed a trail in drawing up blueprints for community-driven climate adaptation strategies. Part of this blueprint is to revive traditional farming practices that could withstand extreme weather changes. Ainun Nishat, a former academic and now senior advisor for climate in Asia to IUCN, cited a programme reintroducing water-tolerant species, as well as those that can survive in floods, drought and salinity. There is a species of rice that can be submerged under water for 15 days without deteriorating. The new government is also implementing a project to resuscitate river networks. Read the article …

Climate change costly for Inuit: study
CBC news, 15 December 2009

MONTREAL, CANADA: A new study suggests the financial burden of Arctic climate change is already falling on Inuit people and the heaviest costs are hurting those families least able to pay. The study, by McGill University researchers, backs demands made by Inuit leaders for a share of global funds being proposed to help adapt to a warming planet. It says governments should shift some of their funding focus to help the Inuit meld new tools with traditional knowledge to survive in today’s North. “Inuit can adapt to climate change,” says James Ford, a geographer at McGill University, whose paper will be published early in 2010. “We have a number of concerns about whether Inuit can afford to adapt.” Read the article …

Traditional Knowledge Action Plan launched
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat press release, 21 December 2009

NADI, FIJI: The Traditional Knowledge Action Plan for Forum Island Countries has been launched at a workshop on traditional knowledge, convened by WIPO and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat from 15-16 December 2009, in Nadi, Fiji. Implementation of the Action Plan will initially involve development of national systems of TK protection. These systems are then expected to provide an enabling environment for cultural industries to grow and contribute to economic development and improvement of livelihoods across the region. Forum Island Countries currently included in the work under the Action Plan are Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Read the press release … Download the Action Plan [pdf] …

Applications are now available for the 2010 UNU-IAS Fellowship Programme
UNU-IAS, December 2009

UNU-IAS and UNU-ISP offer about 8-10 PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2010, to provide young scholars and policy-makers, especially from the developing world, with a multi-disciplinarily context within which to pursue advanced research and training that is of professional interest to the successful applicant and of direct relevance to the research agenda of their selected UNU-IAS or UNU-ISP programme. The application deadline is 28 February 2010. Questions regarding the fellowships should be directed to the UNU-IAS Fellowship Committee, fellowships (at) ias.unu.edu. Further information, including links to information documents and application forms …

WIPO Traditional Knowledge Committee Pushes Toward Text-Based Talks
ICTSD Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 16 December 2009

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Under the guidance of newly elected chair Juan José Gómez Camacho of Mexico, the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore of the World Intellectual Property Organization came within “a centimetre” of agreeing on a framework for how its negotiations will proceed between now and September 2011, when the IGC is supposed to present the WIPO General Assembly with texts outlining a legal instrument (or instruments) on the protection of the three topics in its mandate. Read the article …

Indigenous innovation at vanguard of climate change
Kirsty Galloway McLean, UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative, 10 December 2009

In this article, Kirsty Galloway McLean reviews how Indigenous Peoples at the vanguard of climate change are actively using their traditional knowledge and survival skills to test adaptive responses to climate change. Highlighting the growing recognition that indigenous traditional knowledge offers information and insight that complements conventional science and environmental observation, she stresses that the integration of traditional wisdom and new technologies to adapt to climate change impacts offers a path to new partnerships and innovative ways of thinking. She concludes by presenting Advance Guard: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, Mitigation and Indigenous Peoples, a compendium containing over 400 case studies and research activities specifically related to Indigenous Peoples. Read the article …

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