Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Indigenous peoples threatened by climate change

Environmental Expert, via FAO: Increasingly tough climatic conditions and limited rights to land and other basic resources risk jeopardizing the lives and livelihoods of many indigenous groups that hold the key to our long term survival, FAO noted today on the eve of the International Day for the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

“Indigenous peoples are among the first to suffer from increasingly harsh and erratic weather conditions, and a generalized lack of empowerment to claim goods and services to which other population groups have greater access,” said Regina Laub, FAO focal point for Indigenous Peoples.

A number of indigenous groups make their living within vulnerable environments -- in mountainous areas, in the Arctic, in jungles or in dry lands -- and are thus often the first to discern and suffer the effects of climate change.

However, the indigenous are not just victims of global warming; they also have a critical role to play in supporting global adaptation to climate change. In Peru, for example, during the last planting season only those potatoes planted in the traditional way survived the unprecedented extreme frost temperature.

Indigenous communities are often the custodians of unique knowledge and skills and the genetic and biological diversity in plant and animal production that may be vital in adapting to climate change. Approximately 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity is found within indigenous peoples’ territories….

An Indian woman paints the face of another woman at a conference for native peoples in Brasilia. Shot by Valter Campanato/ABr, Wikimedia Commons via Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency. Their website states: "O conteúdo deste site é publicado sob a licença Creative Commons Atribuição 2.5 Brasil" (The content of this website is published under the Creative Commons License Attribution 2.5 Brazil)

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