May 2013


Traditional Cultures Can Show Wasteful World How to Preserve Food
UNEP press release, 21 May 2013

NAIROBI, KENYA: From condensing the meat of whole cow to the size of a human fist, to preserving seabirds in sealskins, there are hundreds of ways in which traditional cultures can teach the wasteful developed world how to preserve and conserve one of our most-precious yet most-squandered resources: food. Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced – an astonishing 1.3 billion tonnes, worth around US$1 trillion – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices. World Environment Day 2013, whose global host is the government and people of Mongolia, is focused on the new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) campaign “Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint,” which is aimed at slashing this wastage. As part of the celebrations, UNEP asked people to submit examples of traditional ways in which food is preserved. The ways that indigenous peoples create preserved dishes are as many and varied as the cultures and food sources that form the basis of the recipes. Read the release … Visit the Think.Eat.Save website … Visit the UNEP webpage on traditional food preservation techniques …

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Ethiopian families use cultural crafts to improve livelihoods
UNDP release, 28 May 2013

NEW YORK, USA: Genet Tesfaye is a young, married mother of one living in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa. A potter by trade, Genet has been contributing more and more to her family’s income through her craft. Ethiopia has a diverse and rich cultural heritage, and a joint UNDP-UNESCO project is taking advantage of that heritage to help support the country’s fight against poverty. As part of that project, Genet and other women in a cooperative were trained to improve their skills. The training provided to Genet and the women in her cooperative is part of a three-year programme that has been active in six regions of the country, with more than 100,000 beneficiaries. The programme has contributed to helping communities use and build on their culture to preserve their heritage while simultaneously learning new skills to increase their income. Read the release …

UEBT launches practical guide on equitable benefit sharing
UEBT press release, 22 May 2013

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: Titled “Fair and equitable benefit sharing: manual for the assessment of policies and practices along natural ingredient supply chains” this guide produced by the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) provides information on putting in practice benefit sharing in the sourcing of natural ingredients, in line with the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Nagoya Protocol. It explains the objective, terminology and practical implications of benefit-sharing requirements for companies and other organizations working with natural ingredients. It also outlines a participatory process to assess policies and practices on benefit-sharing, and identify strengths and weaknesses. Read the release … Download the guide [pdf] …

Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge: how can they be protected?
7 June 2013 (Paris, France)

Organized by IDDRI and the Fondation d’enterprise Hermès, in collaboration with the National Library of France, this conference will feature leading scholars and practitioners in the field, who will present and review key efforts aiming at protecting biocultural heritage and traditional knowledge, and will provide a critical assessment of the tools that can be used to improve the livelihood of indigenous peoples and local communities, while also conserving biodiversity. Further information …

Indigenous knowledge offered for climate change adaptation
Science Network Western Australia, 22 May 2013

KIMBERLEY, AUSTRALIA: Researchers have been studying traditional Indigenous knowledge of ecology and weather with the Mirriwoong people of the Ord Valley and Keep River, in order to better manage the effects of climate change. A recently published paper gives the example of the beginning of the Mirriwoong wet season nyinggiyi-mageny known as barrawoondang (time of strong wind, thunder, lightning and rain). Weather conditions are described as ngoomelng birrga ginayinjaloorr-gerring (gathering of rain clouds). One of the traditional indicators that this season is commencing is the loud calling of the Goorrawoorrang or Channel-billed Cuckoos (Scythrops novaehollandiae). The study demonstrates how indigenous groups’ accumulate detailed baseline information about their environment to guide their resource use and management, and develop worldviews and cultural values associated with this knowledge.  Read the article … Read the abstract of the study The role of culture and traditional knowledge in climate change adaptation: insights from East Kimberley, Australia, by Sonia Leonard et al …

World Indigenous Network (WIN) Conference 2013
26-31 May 2013 (Darwin, Australia)

The WIN Conference will cover five themes with a range of topics relevant to indigenous and local community land and sea managers, including: territories, lands and waters; communities and relationships; cultures and knowledge; resources and livelihoods; and networks and exchanges. In addition, the following cross-cutting themes inform many of the Conference papers, presentations and break-out sessions: climate change adaptation; young indigenous people; gender-specific indigenous roles and responsibilities; the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Sessions will be webcasted. Visit the Conference website …

Slow Food and FAO join forces: Three-year agreement to target smallholders, biodiversity
FAO news release, 15 May 2013

ROME, ITALY: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the international non-profit organization Slow Food signed a Memorandum of Understanding aiming to promote more inclusive food and agriculture systems at local, national and international levels. Actions aim to boost incomes for small farmers and rural communities by promoting traditional cooking and locally produced food. Activities under the agreement include the protection of traditional food products and the promotion of culinary traditions as well as the cultural heritage of rural communities. Specifically, Slow Food can help produce inventories of local, indigenous and underutilized species that are potentially important to food security, thus supporting FAO’s role in revaluing and promoting neglected crops. Read the news release …

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