Indigenous people excluded in climate policies: reportApril 19th, 2008 - 11:30 am ICT by admin
London, April 19 (IANS) The ingenuity of indigenous people is too often overlooked by policymakers deciding on climate change even though they are among the most vulnerable, according to a report. The report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), points out that indigenous people usually occupy marginal and remote areas, small islands, coastal plains, mountain areas and dry lands, where they are exposed to adverse environmental effects, Scidev.Net reported.
The areas liable to the greatest changes in climate, and indeed already affected, include the Amazon region, the Caribbean, southern Africa and southern Latin America - all containing large numbers of indigenous people.
Gonzalo Oviedo, co-author of the report, said: “Indigenous people’s vast experience in adapting to climate variability will not be sufficient - they also need better access to other information and tools.”
Although these populations develop coping strategies, the severity of future climate change may exceed this adaptive capacity, say the report’s authors.
Furthermore, they are often socially vulnerable - lacking rights, infrastructure and support, and with fragile livelihoods based only on natural resources.
The report emphasises the need to involve indigenous communities more in research and debate on climate change.
“In the Arctic, scientists and indigenous people work together. It opens doors to knowledge not accessible through western scientific methods,” said co-author Sarah Gotheil, programme officer of IUCN’s Global Marine Programme.
Their adaptation practices include rainwater harvesting, crop and livelihood diversification, and hunting and gathering timed with variations in animal migration and fruiting periods.
The challenge, says the report, is to find how best to combine traditional and scientific knowledge for incorporation into decision-making process.
The report advises that supporting indigenous peoples in their adaptation methods will help preserve the world’s culturally and biologically most diverse areas.
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Tags: adaptive capacity, amazon region, animal migration, arctic scientists, climate change, climate policies, climate variability, coastal plains, conservation of nature, coping strategies, global marine, hunting and gathering, indigenous communities, indigenous people, indigenous peoples, livelihoods, mountain areas, rainwater harvesting, scientific knowledge, scientific methods