November 2013

2014 Senior Indigenous Fellow
OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section, November 2013

The Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section (IPMS) of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is seeking an indigenous person to fill the position of “Senior Fellow” for a duration of four months (2 June – 30 September 2014). The candidate must be indigenous, and have: a university degree preferably in law, political sciences, international relations or any other disciplines related to human rights; basic understanding of international human rights instruments and mechanisms; and minimum of four years of working experience in the field of indigenous peoples’ rights. S/he should be fluent in English, while other language skills including Spanish, French or Russian are highly desirable. The candidate selected will not receive a salary but will be entitled to a monthly stipend that will cover basic living expenses in Geneva, as well as return ticket and basic health insurance. Interested candidates should submit their applications by fax (+41 22 917 90 08) with a cover letter indicating “Application to the 2014 Senior Indigenous Fellowship” or by post at: Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland. Scanned applications can also be sent to: fellowship(at) The deadline is 17 January 2014. Download the call [doc] … Further information on the OHCHR fellowship programme …


Documenting traditional foodways of Kenya
Bioversity International release, 26 November 2013

NAIROBI, KENYA: A Bioversity International initiative sought to document traditional foodways in two contrasting communities in Kenya – Isukha and East Pokot, one agricultural, one pastoral. Foodways are where food, culture and tradition intersect. The partners of the initiative aims not only to better understand and preserve the unique food cultures of these communities, but also to recognize their valuable skills, practices and the agricultural biodiversity that the communities use and conserve in their landscapes. The result: four publications filled with photos and information collected by schoolchildren who were given and trained to use digital cameras; edited and put together with the help of school teachers, community leaders and researchers involved in the project. The first two books describe the way food is grown, collected, prepared and eaten in the Isukha and East Pokot communities, including the cultural aspects associated with them. The third, presents a collection of photographs taken by primary school children from the two communities. Finally, the Practical Guide provides useful information for those who might want to replicate this methodology elsewhere, be it for foodways or other indigenous knowledge and practices. Read the release, including links to the four publications …

Forest traditions make business sense for indigenous people
Thomson Reuters Foundation, 18 November 2013

LONDON, UK: For centuries, indigenous communities in the Philippines have kept the country’s rainforests safe from over-use, thanks to their deep and spiritual respect for nature’s limits. But in the last decade, economic interests seen as good for development – ranging from mining to palm oil cultivation – have overshadowed indigenous people’s way of life, often with devastating effects on the forest. That has led to a gradual recognition at international level of the important role local communities play in forest conservation. Researchers are finding that, where indigenous people have strong land rights, forests are being preserved. “Whatever the forests can give, that’s only what they take,” says Ruth Canlas, facilitator for the Philippines branch of the Philippines-based Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange of South and Southeast Asia, a network of NGOs and community-based groups that helps indigenous communities market forest goods from resources other than wood, including honey, medicinal plants and rattan for crafts. With the help of such organisations, indigenous people are banding together to form community forest enterprises, which combine products from multiple groups to expand production and marketing opportunities. This enables local people to earn more, allowing them to continue managing and making a living from their forests – and reducing the chance they will be forced off their land to seek work in urban areas. Read the article …

Skies through indigenous eyes
SciDev.Net, 12 November 2013

LONDON, UK: Since ancient times, the indigenous people of Brazil have developed their own knowledge and understanding of astronomy. As well as leaving behind a rich cultural legacy, the valuable knowledge they have gleaned has proved useful in deciding when to plant crops, when to harvest and how to predict seasonal changes. As life moves into the twenty-first century, there is a danger that this ancestral wisdom may soon be lost. In an effort to stop this happening, Germano Bruno Afonso, a Brazilian physicist, has devoted his life to the pursuit of ethnoastronomy by creating planetariums with which he hopes to safeguard and share the information he has collected from diverse indigenous communities across Brazil. In this audio slideshow, Luisa Massarani picks up his story. Watch the slideshow …

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity in the Arctic
Tero Mustonen and Violet Ford, 2013

Arctic biodiversity has been and continues to be managed and sustained by Arctic Indigenous peoples through their traditional knowledge. Traditional knowledge is used to observe, evaluate and form views about a particular situation on the land. This knowledge reflects perceptions and wisdom that has been passed on to new generations right up to the present day. However, steps need to be taken to ensure that traditional knowledge is renewed and passed on to the generations to come. The imposition of ‘western’ ways of living, introduced diseases and health regimes, formalized school-based education, Christianity, and the crisscrossing of traditional homelands by modern infrastructure have reduced the capacity of Arctic Indigenous communities to maintain their customary ways of understanding and interacting with their environment. The past century has seen the rise of modern conservation practices in tandem with increasing industrial uses of the land, often with no appreciation for traditional modes of life in the region. Read the chapter …

Internship position open at SPFII
SPFII release, 12 November 2013

An internship position is now available at the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Applications should be submitted online at the UN Internship Programme webpage, with a copy sent to The specific job opening is JO # 31737 and the deadline for applications is 26 November 2013. Read the release … Visit the UN Internship Programme webpage …

Mapping UNFCCC REDD+: a visual guide to the systems and structures supporting REDD+ within the UNFCCC
WWF, Union of Concerned Scientists, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, November 2013

This visual guide includes graphs on: REDD+ design elements necessary to obtain and receive results-based finance; REDD+ national strategy or action plan; national forest monitoring systems; national forest reference emissions levels and/or forest reference levels; measurement, reporting and verification; nationally appropriate mitigation actions; international consultation and analysis; and safeguard information systems. Download the guide [pdf] …

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