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 …

Help build an enduring World Indigenous Network (WIN): Community consultation is now open!
WIN Conference release, 5 May 2013

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA: The WIN International Reference Group and the WIN Secretariat have drafted a scoping paper which suggests a structure for the future of the WIN and asks a series of discussion questions. The scoping paper is open to community consultation for seven weeks – from 6 May to 21 June 2013. Participants can either share ideas through three themed discussion boards or make a more formal online submission. At the same time, the WIN website has a dedicated section for indigenous and local community land and sea managers to share their stories and projects. Further information, including link to the scoping paper … View the stories and projects webpage …

“If we fail our environment, we fail to protect our human rights,” warn UN experts on Earth Day
OHCHR release, 22 April 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: “We continue to fail to protect and conserve our environment in many respects, often with dire consequences for the enjoyment of human rights, despite great progress in some areas,” today warned a group of United Nations independent experts on the occasion of Earth Day 2013. “When our rivers are being depleted and polluted, the livelihoods of many vulnerable groups are put in jeopardy,” explained UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, “including the ability for those groups to access sufficient and safe drinking water, grow food, and harvest from traditional fisheries.” “When mining and other extractive activities take place within indigenous territories without adequate environmental safeguards”, said UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, “a wide array of those communities’ human rights are usually violated or put at risk.” “These are but a few examples of the many challenges continuing to face the international community due to the deterioration of the environment,” the group of experts said. “Now it is time to take this occasion to recognize the fundamental link between a clean and healthy environment to the realization of a wide array of fundamental human rights,” they said. “It is also essential that the international community recognize the critical role that human rights law can play to ensure environmental protection.” Read the release …

The New Commons: Governing Satoyama-Satoumi Landscapes for Human Well-Being
21 March 2013 (Kanazawa, Japan)

This symposium focused on the challenges facing the governance of satoyama and satoumi landscapes. Prof. Tohru Nakashizuka (Tohoku University) focused on the significance of biodiversity and ecosystem services for human well-being, presenting examples to show that biodiversity is an integral part of our daily lives. He highlighted potential risks including the vulnerability of monoculture planted forests to pests and disease, and the potential for new strands of infectious diseases largely caused by intensification of husbandry practices. Prof. Koji Nakamura (Kanazawa University) introduced the results of the seminal Japan Satoyama Satoumi Assessment (JSSA) and its cluster analysis of the Hokushinetsu region, which was conducted during 2007–2010 across Japan with the input of more than 200 stakeholders. He explained that to build on the results of the JSSA, and fill in existing gaps in understanding and data, plans were in progress to conduct a regional assessment of satoyama/satoumi and human well-being in Ishikawa. Prof. Anantha Kumar Duraiappah (United Nations University International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change) built on the first two keynote presentations by explaining how the JSSA helped to provide a strong scientific foundation for looking at satoyama and satoumi. He went into detail on the evolving concept of a new commons, and offered one working definition of the new commons as the spatial boundary that contains different ecosystem types that together produce a critical/minimum set of regulating services (water purification, soil erosion control, flood protection, etc.) to produce provisioning services, such as agricultural production. Three short talks were then delivered by local stakeholders. Read the release …

Attitudes and local ecological knowledge of experts fishermen in relation to conservation and bycatch of sea turtles (reptilian: testudines), Southern Bahia, Brazil
Heitor de Oliveira Braga and Alexandre Schiavetti
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2013, 9:15, doi:10.1186/1746-4269-9-15

This study investigates fishermen’s ecological knowledge about sea turtles and attitudes towards the conservation and bycatch in Ilhéus, Southern Bahia, Brazil. Researchers performed a series of semi-structured interviews with fishermen, consisting of questions relating to the fishermen’s profile, structure and work equipment, the local ecological knowledge of fishermen about sea turtles and bycatch, a projective test, attitudes towards turtle conservation and beliefs and taboos regarding turtles. Correlation analyses were made between indicators of knowledge and attitude as well as the relationship between education level and knowledge and attitudes. Potential areas of spawning were reported and methods for identifying the animal, behavior and popular names were described by fishermen. Life history, habitat, specific and exogenous taboos, beliefs and the use of hawksbill turtle to make glasses and other handcrafts are also reported in the study. The researchers concluded that monitoring of spawning areas, preservation of traditional practices, strategies to moderate the use of fishery resources and the local ecological knowledge/attitudes can provide data to improve the conservation practices and management of sea turtles. Read the article …

Echoes at Fishermen’s Rock – Traditional Tokelau Fishing
UNESCO LINKS, December 2012

This book is a manual on the traditional techniques for the capture of crabs, bird and especially fish of the lagoon, the reef and the open ocean of Tokelau. As such, it introduces the various species and thus the rich biodiversity of the small Pacific island country. For each technique, the manual gives detailed information on the relevant traditional protocols, fish behaviours, the winds, currents and lunar cycles as well as seasonal variations indicated by the annual rising of named stars and constellations that affect traditional fishing in Tokelau. The original version was published in 2008 under the Tokelauan title “Hikuleo i te Papa o Tautai”. Written entirely in Tokelauan, it was the result of regular meetings near Wellington, New Zealand by a group of emigrant Elders from the atoll of Atafu who initiated the project. It collected and recorded the traditional fishing methods of the Elders’ homeland in order to preserve them for younger generations. To make the collection even more accessible for these younger people, whose knowledge of Tokelauan is limited or even non-existent, and to make the detailed traditional knowledge contained in the book available to a wider scientific and general readership, an English translation was conducted by Antony Hooper and Iuta Tinielu. Further information … Download the book [pdf] …

Putting Local Climate Know-How on the Map
IPS, 6 March 2013

KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT: A new weapon in the arsenal against climate change is tapping local knowledge to bridge the policy gap and let communities make their own informed decisions about how to manage livelihoods, natural resources, culture and heritage. “In the past, most climate change initiatives have been top-down, coming from the government level,” says Martin Barriteau, executive director of the NGO Sustainable Grenadines. “[But] our communities, especially the ones on the coast, have been witnessing and adapting to the effects of climate changes over time,” he says. To that regard, participatory three-dimensional modelling, which merges conventional spatial information systems with local people’s own “mental maps,” aims to produce scale relief models that can be used jointly with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Participatory 3D models are manufactured at the village level using paper and layered cardboard. Based on their personal knowledge of the area, informants depict land use and cover and other features on the model by the use of pencils, pushpins (points), yarns (lines) and/or paint (polygons). Once the model is completed, a scaled grid is applied to transpose spatial and georeferenced data into GIS. For example, the models can bring communities together around priority areas such as flood zones, drought concerns, fish populations and mangrove protection. The maps are also an educational tool for youth and children. Last week, SusGren, in collaboration with the Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), brought together members of local communities and regional and international organisations on Union Island, one of the Grenadine Islands, for a one-week participatory three-dimensional mapping exercise. On completion of the workshop, participants are expected to be in a position to discuss the value of local spatial and traditional knowledge as well as describe how P3DM can be used to document, geo-reference and visualise local knowledge. The four- by eight-foot model will belong to the community. Read the article …

Fishing for science in sea of traditional wisdom
The Hindu, 1 March 2013

KOCHI, INDIA: The Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences is planning to document the traditional knowledge of elders and decipher the science in their fishing practices. Traditional fishermen in Kerala relied on sensory factors like colour and smell for finding fish, as well as sky and star observations. They were also able to predict natural disasters by observing the behavior of marine and coastal organisms. Read the article …

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