Indigenous Knowledge for the Mitigation of Climate Change
Several lead authors of the Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have participated in the workshop to discuss issues of relevance to the IPCC Working Group III (WGIII) contribution to the assessment.
“This meeting examined the current and potential contribution of Indigenous peoples and local communities to climate change mitigation, as well as the impact on indigenous peoples and local communities of mitigation efforts,” said Govindan Parayil, Vice-Rector of the United Nations University (UNU) who co-convened the workshop.
Several case studies presented at the workshop identified current and emerging opportunities for indigenous peoples and local communities to contribute to climate change mitigation through carbon abatement and sequestration activities, including opportunities based on the provision of ecological services through application of traditional knowledge and practices.
Issues relevant to indigenous peoples and local communities will be considered in the Fifth Assessment Report. Responding to the need for information, IPCC and UNU, supported by other co-convenors from within the United Nations System, have co-organized two workshops.
“What is unique about this workshop is the open dialogue between IPCC authors, indigenous experts, and community representatives,” says Parayil. “We do hope it will enrich the IPCC assessment process.”
“For the Fifth Assessment Report we are trying to consider all available human options for mitigating climate change,” says Youba Sokona, Co-Chair of the IPCC WGIII who chaired the Cairns meeting. “The dialogue with experts and scientists on indigenous and local communities is inspiring and we are grateful to the United Nations University to have set the stage for this dialogue.”
The first workshop was held in Mexico City in July 2011. It focused on adaptation and vulnerabilities. This second workshop has addressed issues relevant to the mitigation of climate change. The participants examined how mitigation efforts can impact Indigenous peoples and local communities and what barriers exist to their involvement and benefitting.
Indigenous peoples and local communities are actively involved in innovative solutions based on their traditional knowledge, such as reducing emissions through fire management techniques, adopting renewable energies in their territories, and engaging in resource management projects that reduce pressure on natural resources and enhance local adaptive capacity.
There is a high level of interest in climate change mitigation within these communities, not least because climate change impacts on their territories and communities are likely to be both early and severe, posing a direct threat to many indigenous and marginalized societies given continuing reliance upon resource-based livelihoods.
The Fifth Assessment Report is the next major assessment of the IPCC due for completion in 2014. It will provide an update of knowledge on the scientific, technical and socio-economic aspects of climate change.
The workshop is being convened by the UNU and the IPCC, together with co-convenors including: the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency; the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA); the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD); the UN Development Programme, and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). It has been made possible through the generous contribution of donors including the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency; The Christensen Fund; the MacArthur Foundation; the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; the Northern Territory Government; the Oak Foundation; and the United Nations University.
For further information:
Please see the website of the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies Traditional Knowledge Institute
Or contact Ms Kirsty Galloway McLean: g_mclean(at)ias.unu.edu