Indigenous peoples


The involvement of indigenous and traditional mountain communities is a prerequisite for sustainable mountain development. The culture of indigenous and traditional mountain communities is predominantly agrarian, shaped by harsh climates and rough terrain as well as the seasonal rhythms of planting, harvesting and transhumance.

For these peoples, land, water and forests are not simply natural resources to be used. As their ancestors before them, these communities understand that their well-being, their sense of identity and their children’s future depend on the careful stewardship of the environment. This ‘intangible heritage’ also enriches the global community, providing inspiration and insights for realizing a more sustainable relationship between humankind and the environment.

Mountain peoples cultivate a wide variety of crops that are adapted to a range of different elevations, slope conditions and microclimates. Moreover, indigenous and traditional mountain farmers have explicitly designed their agricultural systems to protect the soil from erosion, conserve water resources and reduce the risks of disasters triggered by natural hazards.

Therefore, traditional mountain communities serve as custodians of traditional knowledge on how to farm in difficult mountainous conditions and of important reservoirs of agricultural biodiversity. It is important to recognize in indigenous mountain communities that men and women have different areas of knowledge, experience and responsibility that contribute to preserving biodiversity.

The nutritional value of local foods is not determined simply by the different types of local crops, but by the way herbs and spices, the oils, meat, vegetables and condiments are combined and cooked (almost exclusively by women). This traditional cuisine, along with the knowledge and skills required to prepare it, represents another vital aspect of the intangible cultural heritage of mountain peoples. Unfortunately indigenous mountain food systems are at risk. Indigenous foods, stigmatized as ‘foods of the poor’, are often abandoned in favour of modern foods that are more convenient to cook but often contain high levels of sugar and fat and have relatively low nutritional value. This phenomenon compounds the problem of the relatively high rates of iodine and vitamin A micronutrient deficiencies found in impoverished mountain communities.

With climate change scenarios strongly suggesting that extreme weather events are likely to become more common and more intense in mountain areas, it is necessary integrate indigenous agricultural systems and their historical perspectives on climate variability as key-tools in climate change adaptation strategies.

VII Meeting of Knowledge and Practices of Rural Andean Peoples

VII Meeting of Knowledge and Practices of Rural Andean Peoples

event

For four days in the city of Andahuaylas, people who live in rural parts of the Andes in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will meet again for a meeting of knowledge and practices, organized by REDAR Peru  and the Ministry of Agriculture of Peru.

Identify...

Read more »
Method for climate adaptation in the mountains

Method for climate adaptation in the mountains

news

Active Remedy Ltd submitted a report - outlining a method/tool for working with mountain communities and integrating modern and traditional knowledge conservation approaches – to a United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) database. The worldwide database gathers various uses of Local, Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge and Practices for...

Read more »
Submissions for UN report on mountains

Submissions for UN report on mountains

news

The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) is currently compiling summaries of the most important results of mountain development activities since July 2013 for the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Report on Sustainable Mountain Development.

Now requested every three years, the MPS and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations,...

Read more »
Indigenous adaptation knowledge in mountains

Indigenous adaptation knowledge in mountains

news

Mountain ecosystems and communities are extremely vulnerable to climate change. There is evidence that temperatures are rising faster at higher altitudes. High mountains are ‘highly temperature sensitive regions’, with several extreme impact events of recent decades attributed to warming, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Glacier retreat...

Read more »
 A self-sustaining Peruvian community

A self-sustaining Peruvian community

news

Andean rural areas in South America are home to native ancient ethnicities such as Quechuas and Aymaras and Huancas. These custodians of the Andean cultural heritage, through their biodiversity in crops and local knowledge, demonstrate that ancient technologies can contribute to the reduction of inequality and a more inclusive society....

Read more »
A Year-long Ascent: Mountain Partnership Secretariat Annual Report 2014

A Year-long Ascent: Mountain Partnership Secretariat Annual Report 2014

publication

The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) reflects its key achievements in promoting sustainable mountain development (SMD) in its 2014 annual report. Using mountain climbing as an analogy to facing SMD challenges, the annual report outlines its work in advocacy, communication and knowledge management, promoting International Mountain Day, brokering joint action and...

Download »
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Home > Our work > Indigenous People