April 2010

5th Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands
3 May – 7 May 2010 (Paris, France)

The Fifth Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands is organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands and co-hosted by UNESCO and the Government of France. The Conference will feature a session on the role of traditional and local knowledge in climate change adaptation, organized by the UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative. The session will discuss, and hear case studies on how some communities are using traditional knowledge to record their observations of climate change and its impacts on the environment, and how they are taking an active role in ensuring their survival through employing traditional and local knowledge to develop practical solutions for adaptation. These solutions often relate to improved bottom-up strategies for management of marine and coastal ecosystems and resources, which ultimately enhance the community’s capacity for survival in a changing world. These local responses can offer valuable insights for the rest of the world, and can be particularly effective when combined with national and international strategies for climate change adaptation. Download a summary presentation of the TK-related session [doc] …   Visit the Conference website …


World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth
19 April – 22 April 2010 (Cochabamba, Bolivia)

An initiative of Bolivian President Evo Morales, the Conference provided a forum to discuss the structural and systemic causes of climate change and propose substantive measures that facilitate the well-being of mankind in harmony with nature. In his message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that the UN seeks dialogue, inclusiveness and transparency in the global climate discourse, and referred to climate change as an ethical issue, with serious implications for the well-being of present and future generations, and requiring a global solution that takes into account the views and needs of all who share Mother Earth. CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf noted that the CBD has drawn the international community’s attention to the impacts of climate change on indigenous and local communities, and pointed to ecosystem-based adaptation for integrating the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into an overall adaptation strategy; generating social, economic and cultural co-benefits; and drawing on traditional knowledge.

In the final declaration, the Conference participants propose to the peoples of the world “the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of ‘Living Well,’ recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship.” The declaration further states that the challenge of stopping global warming can only be achieved through a profound shift in agricultural practices towards the sustainable model of production used by indigenous and rural farming peoples, as well as other ancestral models and practices that contribute to solving the problem of agriculture and food sovereignty. It also calls for full recognition of UNDRIP and its integration in climate change negotiations. It also condemns REDD and calls for direct transfers of economic and technological resources to pay for the restoration and maintenance of forests, in favor of the peoples and indigenous ancestral structures. Read the Conference press release on the final declaration … Read a Climate-L.org article on the Conference … Read an ECLAC press release … Download the statement of the CBD Executive Secretary [pdf] …

Preserving culture, protecting villagers in Fiji
UNDP news release, 27 April 2010

Tai Butani is the only person left in Lomawai village who continues to produse salt from the mangrove ponds, a tradition that has been part of village life for generations. Lomawai village on the Island of Fiji is well-known for its salt producing tradition. UNDP Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme co-funds a project started in 1999 by the World Wildlife Fund. This project has allowed Tai Butani to conduct workshops and pass on her knowledge to local women. Read the news release …

Strengthening education with indigenous languages in Bangladesh
UNDP news release, 26 April 2010

Since 2003, UNDP has been working to help the people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts meet their immediate development needs and create long-term opportunities. This effort includes the creation of an education programme that aims to strengthen primary and secondary education within the Chittagong Hill Tract community. In December 2009, with funding from the EU, the programme began a new phase that has resulted in the introduction of multilingual education into 150 schools in the region. Around the world, indigenous peoples contribute to humanity’s cultural diversity, enriching it with more than two thirds of its languages and an extraordinary amount of its traditional knowledge. Programmes such as the one in the Chittagong Hill Tract community in Bangladesh help keep such languages and traditions alive. Read the news release …

In Laos, community radio gives a voice to ethnic groups
UNDP news release, 20 April 2010

In Lao PDR, a country with 49 ethnic groups and a variety of languages, it is often difficult to access information in your own language. To reach those who were previously voiceless, the Ministry of Information and Culture and UNDP have established the Khoun Community Radio. For the past three years, the Radio has been broadcasting in three languages – Lao, Khmou and Hmong – in the Khoun District, one of the poorest in the country. Lao, Khmou and Hmong, the three biggest ethnic groups, comprise a total of 73.5 percent of the population of Lao PDR. The Community Radio is improving access to information and strengthening the voice of poor rural people, especially women and the disabled. Read the news release …

Resumed Ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing
CBD notification, 23 April 2010

The resumed ninth meeting of the ABS Working Group will be held from 10-16 July 2010, in Montreal, Canada. The meeting aims to finalize the negotiations for a protocol on ABS, for possible adoption at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, to be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. Download the notification [pdf] …

List of selected indigenous and local community representatives to receive funding for participation in SBSTTA-14 and WGRI-3
CBD notification, 21 April 2010

The CBD Secretariat has circulated the list of selected indigenous and local community representatives to receive financial assistance from the Voluntary Trust Fund for participation in the fourteenth meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, to be held from 10-21 May 2010, and the third meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation, to be held from 24-28 May 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya. Download the notification [pdf] …

US to review stance on indigenous rights text
Washington Post, 20 April 2010

NEW YORK, USA: Addressing the ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the United States Ambassador at the UN Susan Rice said she was “pleased to announce that the United States has decided to review our position” on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “We recognize that, for many around the world, this declaration provides a framework for addressing indigenous issues,” she said, noting that Native American leaders had encouraged President Barack Obama to re-examine the U.S. stance. Read the article … Read an Indian Country Today article on the topic …

German pharmaceutical Schwabe announces withdrawal of 5 pelargonium patents
ACB media release, 26 April 2010

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), the Berne Declaration and the Church Development Service welcomed the announcement by Schwabe that it will not pursue five pelargonium related patents granted to it by the European Patent Office. The announcement followed a challenge on behalf of the Alice community in Eastern Cape, and the revocation of one patent by the European Patent Office in January 2010. Read the release …

Linking people, places and products: A guide for promoting quality linked to geographical origin and sustainable geographical indications
E. Vandecandelaere, F. Arfini, G. Belletti and A. Marescotti, FAO and SINER GI, 2009 | ISBN 978-92-5-106374-3

Origin-based products show specific quality attributes linked to the geographical places where they are produced and, over time, build a reputation by a Geographical Indication that identifies them. These differentiated products have the opportunity to meet a specific and remunerating demand and the potential to be part of a sustainable quality virtuous circle based on their promotion and preservation of local resources. This potential lies within their specific quality, which is a result of a unique combination of natural resources (climatic conditions, soil characteristics, local plant varieties, breeds, etc.) and local skills, historical, cultural practices as well as traditional knowledge in producing and processing the products. They reflect a unique combination of local natural resources and cultural ones (traditions, know-how and skills, some of which are transmitted through generations) in a given territory, linking the product, the people and the place. This guide, including several case studies from different regions of the world, aims to assist stakeholders, particularly small farmers and producers in developing countries, in their effort to develop and implement quality products, linked to geographical origins, and take advantage of the opportunities offered by consumers’ interest in these products to improve their livelihoods, and promote sustainable agriculture and rural development. Download the guide [pdf] …

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