Responding to climate change in local communities
1 August 2011
Mexico City, Mexico – “What I used to think were twinkling stars at night, were actually the flashlights of our farmers guarding the water sources that fed their rice terraces,” said Sarah Dekdeken, sharing the experience of conflict over scarce water resource and her community’s response in the form of a system of social controls called the Lampisa. An indigenous Kankanaey from the Philippines, Sarah had come to Mexico City as one of 50 presenters selected for a UN workshop on climate change and traditional knowledge. Over three days, presenters discussed the outcomes of their varied research related to local communities and climate change, touching on themes that ranged from food security issues in small islands states to indigenous adaptations that enhanced their resilience.
Convened by a partnership including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biodiversity, United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization and United Nations University, the first “Indigenous Peoples, Marginalized Populations and Climate Change” workshop was held from 19-21 July 2011. With a theme on “Vulnerability, Adaptation and Traditional Knowledge,” over 350 submissions were received in response to the call for abstracts which was issued in Feb 2011.
Open to traditional knowledge holders and researchers from all disciplines, the workshops are aimed to identify, compile and analyse relevant indigenous and local observations, knowledge and practices related to understanding climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation. The workshops provide a key opportunity to ensure that experience, sources of information and knowledge (scientific, indigenous and local), along with data and literature (scientific and grey), focusing on vulnerable and marginalized regions of the world are made available to the authors of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report and the global community. A workshop report and a technical report will be made available by the end of 2011.
A second workshop is expected to be held in 2012 in Cairns, Australia, the theme of which is expected to focus on mitigation.