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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

A Briefing Paper: Building the Resiliency of Indigenous Communities on Climate Change Adaptation

Resiliency and indigenous peoples have become terms that define each other. Resilience being the ability and capacity to cope and recover from abrupt or unexpected change has been proven and illustrated in various occasions in many parts of the planet by indigenous peoples in varying levels of organisation and capacity. They have shown remarkable confidence and persistence to adjust their systems and practices to changes and circumstances that impact on them, and still manage to maintain their particular and distinct identity. This has always been proven and demonstrated with their adjustment and adaptation to the effects and consequences of climate change and threats to their ecosystem and biodiversity.

This resiliency may be attributed to the indigenous peoples’ traditional environmental knowledge and intimate relationship with land and nature. Their daily survival directly hinges on the resources around them and whatever changes in the environment that have bearing or impact on their lives are carefully studied and drawn lessons from. They have mastered the law of nature, up to a certain level, except with technological, capitalist and destructive intrusion that they have difficulty warding off. Contrary to mainstream and capitalist notions of dealing with environmental crisis such as climate change where technologies and corporate measures are applied, indigenous systems and coping mechanisms are devised by indigenous communities in varying modes of sustainability. There are factors considered, nevertheless, such as changing cultural views interfacing with economic necessities and influences. These are major elements shaping the responses and approaches of indigenous communities in dealing with this environmental crisis.

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