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.

Yachay Wasi re-visits Andean lakes projects

Yachay Wasi re-visits Andean lakes projects

news

Vice President and Co-Founder of Yachay Wasi and main representative to the United Nations (UN) Marie-Danielle Samuel re-visited Acopia, Peru, in June 2016, returning to the site of several Yachay Wasi projects. She said:

“I returned to Cuzco, Peru and, with the President of Yachay Wasi, I re-visited the Circuit...

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Mountain communities call for climate action

Mountain communities call for climate action

news

As half of the world's population relies on mountains for their water, 18 indigenous mountain communities call for support to strengthen traditional natural resource management systems. Mountain communities are among the most vulnerable to climate change, with many communities already suffering due to erratic rainfall, drought, increased temperatures and pests, as...

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Call for mountain photographs for IMD

Call for mountain photographs for IMD

peak to peak

                                                                       Issue 94 – Month 7 – Year 2016

The July issue of...

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Call for mountain photographs for IMD

Call for mountain photographs for IMD

news

Send us your mountain photos. We are seeking pictures that show local mountain culture. You could submit portraits of mountain peoples or spontaneous shots of individuals engaging in traditional activities, festivals or everyday mountain life. The photographs will be used to promote International Mountain Day (IMD), which is 11 December.

The...

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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...

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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...

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