October 2012


Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre
25-29 October 2012 (Turin, Italy)

A conference on “Traditional Knowledge: An Inheritance to Treasure”, held during the Slow Food’s annual conference, highlighted the new “Granaries of Memory” project, an initiative of the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. The Granaries of Memory is an online archive of interviews with farmers, cooks, partisans and cultural figures. “We are moving towards uncertain times, times of change,” said José Esquinas-Alcazar, director of the CEHAP (Cátedra de Estudios sobre Hambre y Pobreza) at the University of Cordoba. “For future generations it is important to maintain biodiversity at all levels. And it is precisely the complementarity between new technologies and traditional knowledge that can help us to safeguard the ethnodiversity of languages, customs and traditions.” Another conference on “Indigenous Peoples and Local Food Sovereignty – A struggle for self-determined development”, gathered representatives of indigenous peoples from North America, Argentina, Malaysia, East Africa, Russia and the Pacific. Read a press release of 26 October … Read a press release of 27 October …

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Watch: East African pastoralists record their climate reality
CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security research program (CCAFS), 18 October 2012

LISBON, PORTUGAL: Pastoralists in East Africa have been using video to share their stories and experiences about coping with seasonal and annual climatic variability as part of the project Pastoralist Transformations to Resilient Futures: Understanding Climate from the Ground Up, facilitated by researchers and film makers from the Colorado State University. Over the course of three weeks, the filmmakers learned how to shoot, conduct interviews, create sequences, storyboard and do some basic editing. They then used their new skills to create short videos about climatic changes and other aspects of their lives they wished to share. The production of a collaborative film (15 minutes), documenting the project is underway. Provisionally entitled “The Land has Changed”: East African Pastoralist Perspectives on Climate Change, it will incorporate footage by the Maasai filmmakers, Nicolas Tapia and Lindsay Simpson, and will illustrate the points of views held by a diversity of stakeholders in the debate around climate change and other transformations in the East African dry lands. Read the post …

Local knowledge and adaptation to climate change in Ouémé Valley, Benin
R.A.B. Kpadonou, P.Y. Adégbola and S.D. Tovignan
African Crop Science Journal vol. 20, Issue Supplement s2, 2012

This paper highlights the local dimension of adaptation to climate change and the importance of local knowledge in adaptation planning. A case study of farmers’ strategies for adapting to climate vulnerability in the low valley of Ouémé showed that local people have developed a remarkable ability to adapt to climate threats, or in some cases have turned threats into opportunities. From fishing practices to agricultural techniques through agro-fishing practices, they managed to take advantage of their natural vulnerability through adaptation strategies mainly based on local knowledge. The trend of these local strategies confirms the dynamic nature of adaptation to climate change mainly determined by the extent of vulnerability caused by continued depletion of the environment. But given that this dynamic can sometimes lead to maladaptation, it is necessary that local people are assisted in their coping strategies, through synergies between local institutions and national and international adaptation frameworks. Download the article [pdf] …

Indigenous land and sea management network launched
SBS Australia, 30 October 2012

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Indigenous rangers from Australia are visiting Canada to help launch a global network of indigenous land and sea managers. They say the development reflects a growing international demand for their knowledge to deal with environmental problems. The exchange has been organized in partnership with Pew Environment Group and forms the first stage in the launch of a global network for indigenous peoples and local communities land and sea managers. Read the article …

Applications are invited for Postdoctoral, Doctoral and Masters studentships in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, as part of the recently awarded NRF Research Chair on Environmental and Social Dimensions of the Bio-economy. The deadline for applications to Fahdelah.Hartley(at)uct.ac.za is 15 November 2012.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship: Environmental and Social Dimensions of the Bio-economy
A scholar is sought to conduct research on one or more of the following inter-related themes: access and benefit-sharing, bio-discovery and the bio-economy; biodiversity use and trade, traditional knowledge, rural livelihoods and poverty alleviation; governance, rights and the bio-economy; and environmental and social impacts of emerging technologies. The tenure of the fellowship is for two years, with the second year subject to satisfactory progress. Further information …

PhD and Masters Opportunities: Environmental and Social Dimensions of the Bio-economy
Students will join a growing team of researchers working on the themes identified above. Applications are welcome from South African citizens holding degrees in environmental science, human geography, economics, anthropology, law, environmental science, sociology or related fields. Further information …

TrustLaw Connect
Thomson Reuters Foundation

TrustLaw Connect, a programme of Thomson Reuters Foundation that links top law firms in over 140 countries with non-profit organizations in need of free legal assistance, is interested in expanding their support to indigenous organizations and social enterprises located in developing countries. Visit the TrustLaw Connect website … Take the eligibility quiz in order to apply for legal assistance …

Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
8-19 October 2012 (Hyderabad, India)

CBD COP 11 adopted 33 decisions on a range of strategic, substantive, administrative, financial and budgetary issues. Among other issues, the meeting addressed: the status of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS); implementation of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and progress towards the Aichi biodiversity targets; and implementation of the Strategy for Resource Mobilization. Deliberations also focused on: issues related to financial resources and the financial mechanism; cooperation, outreach and the UN Decade on Biodiversity; operations of the Convention; and administrative and budgetary matters. Delegates also addressed: ecosystem restoration; Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge); marine and coastal biodiversity; biodiversity and climate change; biodiversity and development; and several other ecosystem-related and cross-cutting issues. The meeting’s main highlight was agreement on an interim target of doubling biodiversity-related international financial resource flows to developing countries by 2015, and at least maintaining this level until 2020. This target is coupled with targets aiming to improve the robustness of baseline information as well as a preliminary reporting framework for monitoring resource mobilization.

Deliberations on Article 8(j) focused on repatriation of TK (task 15 of the work programme), the development of a plan of action on customary sustainable use (Article 10(c)), and whether to change terminology in CBD decisions from ILCs to “indigenous peoples and local communities” on the basis of recommendations of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). On customary sustainable use (Article 10(c)), as a major component of the work programme on Article 8(j), the COP requested the Secretariat to develop a draft plan of action, including a proposal for phased implementation of the plan, for consideration by the next meeting of the Article 8(j) Working Group; and mandated the Working Group to provide views and advice on TK and sustainable use directly to SBSTTA on a regular basis. The COP decided that the initial tasks shall be to: incorporate customary use practices or policy into national biodiversity strategies and action plans; promote community-based initiatives contributing to customary sustainable use and collaborate with ILCs in joint activities to achieve enhanced implementation of Article 10(c); and identify best practices.

The COP adopted terms of reference to advance task 15, emphasizing that task 15 is to be interpreted in accordance with the Convention provisions, in particular Article 8(j) and Article 17(2) (exchange of information), and is intended to build on, and enhance repatriation by governments and other entities, including international organizations, museums, herbaria, botanical and zoological gardens, databases, registers and genebanks. The COP acknowledged that the Nagoya Protocol on ABS provides a favorable framework for the development of sui generis systems for the protection of TK and for ABS from the use of TK associated with genetic resources, and decided to hold an expert group on the issue, with the participation of indigenous experts; and on the basis of UNPFII recommendations, requested the Article 8(j) Working Group to consider the matter of terminology related to “indigenous peoples and local communities” and all its implications for the CBD and its parties, for further consideration by COP 12.

Integration of TK-related items in other decisions indicate that Article 8(j) is gradually being considered as a cross-cutting item throughout the CBD work. In the decision on ecologically and biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs), the COP invited governments and international organizations to consider the use of guidance on the integration of TK in the application of EBSA criteria, with the approval and involvement of TK holders, where applicable, in any future description of areas meeting the EBSA criteria and for the development of conservation and management measures, and further noted that socially and culturally significant areas may require enhanced conservation and management measures and that criteria for the identification of areas in need of such enhanced measures may need to be developed. Under guidance to the financial mechanism, the COP called upon the GEF, donors, parties and others to consider providing technical support and financial resources for work on indicators on TK and customary sustainable use.

Due to budget cuts, the next meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) (TK) depends on voluntary contributions, which were pledged by a number of countries, including notably the African Group and India. Visit the meeting’s webpage … Read the summary and analysis of the meeting by IISD Reporting Services …

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