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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

EMRIP16: Side Event On Interconnection Between Health, Language, Biodiversity, And Climate

Indigenous Peoples Organizations, UNESCO, WMO, WHO, OHCHR, IPBES, BES-Net and IPCC
EMRIP16-Gam-side-event-interconnection-language,health,biodiveristy-climate

Side Event On Interconnection Between Health, Language, Biodiversity, And Climate
Indigenous Peoples Organizations, UNESCO, WMO, WHO, OHCHR, IPBES, BES-Net and IPCC

Gam A. Shimray,
Secretary General,
Asia Indigenous Peoples

  1. Indigenous communities have a holistic approach in the way we govern our lands and territories. Therefore, everything in our territories is deeply interconnected which plays an important role in the maintenance of balance of life on the planet. 
  2. Similarly, indigenous knowledge is holistic and sees the interconnection between health, language, biodiversity, and climate. This interconnection contributes mainly to the following three aspects:
    • Community well-being and cultural resilience
    • Spirituality and good relationship with the unseen 
    • Healthy eco-systems and environment
  1. Continuous development and transmission of indigenous knowledge (IK) is key in maintaining all these three key aspects which is crucial in the continuity of a healthy community life. Research reports and documented cases have also shown that indigenous communities with secured rights and well managed lands and territories are more resilient against the unprecedented pressures engendered by climate and biodiversity crisis, and even against the health risks posed by the Covid-19 during the pandemic.
  2. Indigenous knowledge is holistic science:
    • Super imposing IK and land use map of a territory – IK is the ecological knowledge of a given territory.
    • It is a product of the mastery in understanding and following the natural patterns such as seasonal patterns.
    • Mode of production and food generation follows seasonal processes.
    • Cultural practices and festivals express the reciprocal relationship we enjoy with the lands, territories, seeds and the environment.
    • Spirituality and respect for nature are expressed in rituals and practices.
    • FPIC from spirits and forests.
    • Language of the forest.
  1. Relationship to language
    • Indigenous languages embody Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge. And without language we are losing our culture and knowledge, because language is the most fundamental way to communicate knowledge.
    • Therefore, indigenous language and knowledge cannot be underrated and must be recognized as equally important as any other knowledge systems in the context of climate change solution and biodiversity conservation, as well as in ecosystem restoration efforts, etc.
  1. In the context of IPCC, even though it has acknowledged the role of IK in climate change adaptation and mitigation, it needs to go further by establishing a separate working group or a mechanism on indigenous knowledge. So that due attention and full recognition is given to IK.
  2. Further, as we engage on indigenous knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge and Data Sovereignty must be recognized. And human rights-based approach must be applied both in the recognition (i.e., inherent rights) and application of indigenous knowledge.

Click here to download the Gam A. Shimray’s remarks

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