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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Indigenous Peoples’ Good Practices in Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction: Case studies of indigenous Karen community of Hak-kia village in Northern Thailand and Taloctoc tribe in Northern Philippines.

In varying degrees, climate change is defnitely and irreversibly affecting ways of life and survival of people globally that it is a major focus and concern in international, regional and national conversations and dialogues in terms of policies and strategies. Central to the discourse is the role of indigenous peoples with their sustainable practices and traditional knowledge of natural elements, whose identity is intimately linked to land, who have minimal or least contribution to climate change, yet bear its impact and adverse effects. While world leaders, policy makers, conservationists and environmentalists seek new paradigms and programmes to deal with climate change, indigenous peoples’ practices have proven and continue to be viable, time-tested, adaptive and sustainable, enabling their communities to remain resilient. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) makes milestones possible for indigenous peoples with their role in climate change and biodiversity. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) although government driven process in nature is slowly opening doors for full and effective participation of indigenous peoples through the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Platform established by Paris Decision in 2015. Taking off from the UNDRIP, the Paris Climate Accord preamble gives due and specifc recognition to indigenous peoples’ rights. Article 7 of the Climate Accord acknowledges the crucial role of traditional knowledge in climate change adaptation action.

Marginalized in mainstream capitalist development processes which have degraded the deterioration of the environment, indigenous peoples with their traditional knowledge on climate and nature’s laws, customary laws, and distinct culture and self-governance, illustrate that land ownership and resource management can counter and mitigate the hazards in a changing planet. With the threats and implementation of unwanted development of their resources with state participation and permission, indigenous peoples persist in traditional means that are sustainable and least harmful to their survival and immediate environment.

Two cases present themselves as clear models and studies of how indigenous communities build their resiliency and how these valuably contribute to the understanding of biodiversity processes, disaster mitigation and adaptation in the period of climate change. These studies initiated by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) with support from MISEREOR under the ongoing project “Building the Resiliency of Indigenous Communities on Climate Change Adaptation” involved the Karen community of Ban Hak-kia in Northern Thailand and the Taloctoc tribe in Tanudan, Kalinga in Northern Philippines, taking into account their socioeconomic and political structures and systems, traditional practices and customary laws in agriculture and forestry, agricultural cycle, resource management and other data gathered as part of the peoples’ learning experience.

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