News (24)

UPAKAT finalizes constitution, comes up with annual plan

 

DAVAO CITY - Inspired by the stunning Kublai artworks at Ponce Suites Gallery Hotel in Davao City, eight newly selected Council of Elders of the Ugnayang Pambansa para sa Katutubong Kaalaman at Talino (UPAKAT Inc.) held their first council meeting on January 24-26 2017.

The council members who hail from the different ethnographic regions of the country, finalized the networks’ constitution and by-laws and came up with a plan that detailed what the network would want to do in the next three years.

According to Mr. John Mart Salunday, a Tagbanua from Palawan and the current Secretary of the network, the crafting of the constitution and by-laws is one of their responsibilities as appointed officers of UPAKAT.

One of the main activity of the network for the year is to train indigenous representatives of the different indigenous political structures, organizations and communities on human rights based approach. This is to enhance indigenous peoples’ awareness and understanding on their inherent rights and the different international and national human rights instruments.

“The goal is to equip our people with the necessary skills to effectively lobby and advocate for indigenous peoples rights,” said Timuay Santos Unsad, a Téduray elder from Upi, Maguindanao and the current President of the network.

“The new set of councils are committed to serve during their term and will collectively continue to promote and advocate traditional knowledge nationwide,” he added.

UPAKAT is a national network of indigenous political structures, organizations and communities for the promotion of traditional knowledge and wisdom, in the Philippines. ###

 

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Vast biodiversity database now available to all

 

Scientists have a new 'big data' tool to study how human activity affects the planet's biodiversity, with a publication of a gigantic database that compiles studies from across the globe.

The PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity in Changing Terrestrial Systems) database, the largest of its kind, is now available on the Museum's Data Portal for anyone to access.

More than 3.2 million records, sampled from over 26,000 locations and representing more than 47,000 species, are being released.

The project is a mass collaborative effort. Hundreds of scientists from around the world are sharing research data through the database.

'We know that landscapes are going to change a lot in the future as the human population grows, but we haven't really known how biodiversity will change in response,' says project lead and Museum scientist Prof Andy Purvis.

'The PREDICTS database allows us to build global models from the individual local studies that help answer this question.'

 

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TheThe PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) database, the largest of its kind, is now available on the Museum's Data Portal for anyone to access.

More than 3.2 million records, sampled from over 26,000 locations and representing more than 47,000 species, are being released.

The project is a mass collaborative effort. Hundreds of scientists from around the world are sharing research data through the database.

'We know that landscapes are going to change a lot in the future as the human population grows, but we haven't really known how biodiversity will change in response,' says project lead and Museum scientist Prof Andy Purvis.

'The PREDICTS database allows us to build global models from the individual local studies that help answer this question.'

- See more at: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/science-news/2016/december/vast-biodiversity-database-now-available-to-all.html?utm_content=buffer25574&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.tj3uWipk.dpuf

The PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) database, the largest of its kind, is now available on the Museum's Data Portal for anyone to access.

More than 3.2 million records, sampled from over 26,000 locations and representing more than 47,000 species, are being released.

The project is a mass collaborative effort. Hundreds of scientists from around the world are sharing research data through the database.

'We know that landscapes are going to change a lot in the future as the human population grows, but we haven't really known how biodiversity will change in response,' says project lead and Museum scientist Prof Andy Purvis.

'The PREDICTS database allows us to build global models from the individual local studies that help answer this question.'

- See more at: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/science-news/2016/december/vast-biodiversity-database-now-available-to-all.html?utm_content=buffer25574&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.tj3uWipk.dpuf
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The Indigenous Peoples' and Local Communities Walkout

(This is the statement made by the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) after they had walked out during the afternoon session of the Working Group II last 16 December 2016.)  

 

The International Indigenous Forum on Biological Diversity (IIFB) has walked out on the Working Group decisions on the development of Voluntary Guidelines for free, prior and informed consent because they are being made without our free, prior and informed consent.

We want to emphasize that these discussions concern our traditional knowledge, that we have traditionally held since time immemorial. This is the knowledge given to use by our Creator and our ancestors.

We think we had a good spirit in the beginning of the Contact Group to consider the Guidelines. The IIFB made early major concessions in order to show good will and move the decisions forward. We showed respect for the parties. While advocating for adding the word “free” to “prior informed consent,” we made a major concession to agree to the use of “approval and involvement” and “according to national legislation.”

This good will was not fully reciprocated by the parties. We appreciated those who supported us. But some parties seemed intent on qualifying and limiting the value of the Guidelines. Instead of respecting the text that had come out of 8j, they spent much time opening up clean text that had already been negotiated and agreed upon by consensus by parties, indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs). Parties kept opening up unbracketed texts and adding new text, all designed to subject IPLCs rights to national legislation, or otherwise further limit the rights.

We believe that IPLC rights cannot limited in this way. While we have many issues and hard compromises, we ask for four (4) changes that for us are red line issues:

 

Annex

Paragraph 4: “The guidelines should be applied in a manner that is consistent with national law of the country where the traditional knowledge is being accessed, gives due importance to the customary laws and community protocols and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities, in accordance with national legislation”. 

At the end of the sentence add “and relevant international obligations.”

 

Paragraph  6 (d): “Consent or approval is the agreement of the indigenous peoples and local communities’ holders of traditional knowledge to grant access to their traditional knowledge to a potential user and includes the right not to grant consent or approval, in accordance with national legislation”.

Delete “in accordance with national legislation”  Consent is consent. Saying that consent or approval are subject to national legislation potentially makes consent or approval conditional, which makes the concepts contradictory. This should not appear in a definition.

 

Paragraph 16 (g): "Procedures consistent with customary laws, community protocols, practices and customary decision-making processes, in accordance with national legislation."

Delete “in accordance with national legislation.” Customary laws, community protocols, practices and customary decision-making processes have their origins in the Creator and the First laws of the ancestors, held since time immemorial. They are not subject to national legislation.

 

Para 15: “Community protocols and customary law, in accordance with national legislation, can play a role in processes for access to traditional knowledge and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such knowledge. They can contribute to legal certainty, transparency and predictability concerning processes for obtaining :prior informed consent", or "free, prior and informed consent", or approval and involvement, depending on national circumstances, of indigenous peoples and local communities and for establishing mutually agreed terms for benefit-sharing"

Delete “in accordance with national legislation.” Community protocols and customary law cannot be subject to national legislation.

 

 

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Summit Múuch'tambal on Indigenous Experience

CANCUN, MEXICO - A three-day summit was jointly organized to exchange information and experiences on the contributions of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices and customary sustainable use of biodiversity across sector, and on the links between biological and cultural diversity and its implications for policy makers at the international and national levels last December 9-11, 2016.

The different activities includes panel and round-table discussion on mainstreaming traditional knowledge. A field visit to a Mayan indigenous community have taken place on the first day and concluded with a cultural night in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity.

 

Read more about the Múuch'tambal Summit

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Participation to the Regional Training Workshop for the Asian Region

A representative from Tebtebba was selected to participate in the Regional Training Workshop for the Asian Region on Community Protocols, Indicators on Traditional Knowledge and Customary Sustainable Use of Biodiversity under the Convention on Biological Diversity last 17-21 October 2016.

Said training workshop aimed to train trainers from indigenous peoples ad local community (IPLC) organizations and Parties from Asian countries.

Read more about the training programme and workshop

 

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2016-2017 Indigenous Leaders Conservation Foundation Fellowship

 

Recognizing the role of traditional and indigenous peoples' knowledge, Conservation International is creating opportunities for indigenous leaders to explore solutions to the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss using the traditional knowledge of men and women.

Please note of that the deadline to submit application is: 30 September 2016.

For additional information regarding the fellowship, you can consult the following web link: http://www.conservation.org/projects/pages/indigenous-leaders-conservation-fellowship.aspx

 

 

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Conservation measures and their impact on indigenous peoples’ rights. Report to the General Assembly

 

The present report is submitted to the General Assembly by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples pursuant to her mandate under Council resolutions 15/14 and 24/9. In the report, the Special Rapporteur provides a brief summary of her activities since her previous report to the Assembly, as well as a thematic analysis of conservation measures and their impact on indigenous peoples' rights.

Protected areas have the potential of safeguarding the biodiversity for the benefit of all humanity; however, these have also been associated with human rights violations against indigenous peoples in many parts of the world. The complex violations that have been faced by indigenous peoples in the wake of evermore expanding protected areas have been raised by respective special rapporteurs during numerous country visits and communications to governments.

The present report charts legal developments and commitments and measures taken made to advance a human rights-based paradigm in conservation, while also identifying key remaining challenges. The report concludes with recommendations on how conservation, in policy and practice, can be developed in a manner which respects indigenous peoples' rights and enhances sustainable conservation.

 

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The UNEA Challenge: How to be a Strong, Global Authority on Environment

 

(This is a submission made by Florence Daguitan on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group and Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education) as a response to the call for inputs from UNEP Major Groups and Stakeholders on ideas on how to make UNEA more relevant and responsive as the global environmental authority on May 23 – 27 2016.)

 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my views in regards the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA)- how to strengthen it as global authority on environment.

UNEA came at a very opportune time, at a time when development paradigm with detrimental effects on the environment have been surfaced out and all the more felt in the realities of climate crisis. Within this context, the adoption of resolutions “enhancing the work of the UNEP in facilitating cooperation, collaboration and synergies among biodiversity-related conventions” puts UNEA in the right footing.  Given this mandate, UNEA should be entrusted the needed authority and resources to address the fragmented approach in policy formulation and ensure an integrated and holistic approach in the implementation of the environmental dimension of the SDG.

UNEA 3 comes after United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) has formulated its Aichi Biodiversity Targets, UN General Assembly has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals and UN Framework on the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has finalized the Paris Agreement that calls for a concerted effort to halt tropical deforestation and regenerate forests.

Hence, we now have UNGA to promote a transformative change, UNFCCC   to take care of the forest concerns and UNCBD for biodiversity and ecosystems.  UNEA/UNEP should also be able to find its special niche.  It will be  very commendable  for UNEA/UNEP to commit to the responsibility  or taking a leading role in addressing the  challenges  that beset  the fundamental backbone of  society’s economy – agriculture[1].

This recommendation comes from the observation that while UNEA 2 have valid proposals on managing chemical waste, sustainability of cities, working towards healthy planet  and healthy people and for more rationale  production and consumption  pattern;   but  there was a lack of discussion on the roots  of problems that brought related phenomenon in the first place.

Agriculture is a common denominator of   the problems cited above, i .e. much of chemical wastes come from agriculture, influx of population to the cities  from the rural areas as there is no promise of agricultural development,  there is overproduction but there is unequal distribution.

While modern agriculture increased production, it also brought in degraded ecosystems, diet that led to chronic diseases, millions of hectares of forests and natural vegetation and half of the world’s wetland cleared for plantations, overuse and mismanagement of pesticides that poison water and soil and excess fertilizer inputs that have become major  pollutants.   These negative effects should have been enough to compel farmers to veer away from industrial and high-input farming methods but most, for various reasons, are not able to do so.

Supporting a widespread development of ecological-agriculture would be a meaningful undertaking for UNEA, to directly address one of the root cause of environmental problems.

Defined as a systems of integrating organic/natural agriculture and conservation at a landscape scale, eco-agriculture does not only aim to sustainably increase production and reduce costs but also enhance habitat quality and ecosystems services.  This kind of system is exemplified in the traditional food systems of indigenous peoples, [who depend both from the wilds or naturally-occurring flora and fauna and from cultivated crops for their food and who are able to conserve their biodiversity and diverse ecosystems].

Eco-agriculture is being developed by   various social movements for sustainable agriculture. Some of the approaches defined in eco-agriculture include: (a) improving efficiency in resource use, (b) direct action to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources, (c) protect rural livelihoods and improve equity and social well-being; (d) enhance the resilience of people, and (e) good governance for the sustainability of both the natural and human systems.

Having said this therefore, there is a need to promote cooperation, partnerships of government, civil society organizations, peoples organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities, the pioneers, developers and promoters of sustainable/ecological agriculture not driven by the greed for  profit  but by the common aspiration of having a quality life  but also  saving the planet earth which we borrowed  from our children.###

 

References:

  1. “The importance of Agriculture” last modified February 25, 2013, http://agriculturegoods.com/the-importance-of-agriculture/.
  2. Jordan, Robert, Müller, Adrian and Anne Oudes. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) (2009): High Sequestration, Low Emission, Food Secure Farming. Organic Agriculture - a Guide to Climate Change & Food Security. (Germany: International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements , 2009), ifoam.bio/sites/default/files/ifoam-cc-guide-hq-print.pdf.
  3. FAO, “Conservation Agriculture: Conserving resources above and below the ground”, un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd16/documents/fao_factsheet/conservation.pdf.

 

[1] Agriculture could be referred to as the production, processing, promotion and distribution agricultural products

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UPAKAT: a National Network for the Promotion of Traditional Knowledge

 

The Ugnayang Pambansa para sa Katutubong Kaalaman at Talino (UPAKAT), national network of indigenous communities and organizations for the promotion of traditional knowledge and wisdom, was established by indigenous individuals  with a common objective of promoting traditional knowledge.  

Envisaged as a network to take on a strategic role for the protection, promotion, innovation, development, strengthened practice and transmittal of indigenous knowledge systems and practices, UPAKAT aims to bring together indigenous peoples’ communities and organizations to come together and learn from each other’s practices and experiences.

It also endeavors to assist communities in upholding their indigenous knowledge systems and practices and to keep the members fully informed about activities and information relevant to traditional knowledge through its programs. These programs include research and documentation, capacity building, policy advocacy, networking, and cross visit.

UPAKAT emerged at the Philippine workshop for the protection and promotion of traditional/indigenous knowledge in 2013. It was previously set up as a loose network and the members only meet during activities. The network was formerly known as the Pambansang Ugnayan para sa Pagsasabuhay ng Katutubong Kaalaman (Philippine Traditional Knowledge Network).

To be able to establish it as a recognized national network, the council decided to formalize this with a legal identity in December 2014. In 2016, after finalizing its organizational structure and its constitution and bylaws, UPAKAT was legally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Republic of the Philippines under SEC Registration No. CN201631115.

 

Future directions

Looking forward, UPAKAT is committed to its mission of strengthening the collective practice, development, innovation and transmission/transfer of traditional knowledge and wisdom to the next generation.

Its task is to assist indigenous communities and organizations in recognizing the necessity for active involvement to create the full expression of indigenous peoples’ rights in the Philippines. The network is also currently putting together ideas for various community activities in order to attain its mission. 

Since its establishment,  UPAKAT has been conducting research and documentation on traditional knowledge and practices in the community. It has also organized several capacity-building activities such as trainings, workshops and conferences on various topics such as:

  • Philippine workshop for the protection and promotion of traditional indigenous knowledge, enhancement training on indigenous political structure (IPS) documentation;
  • Institutional building through the conduct of regular meetings and assessment;
  • Internal and external policy advocacy to educate both the community and the public; and
  • Community exchange visits to learn through actual observation and for the exchange of knowledge about the community’s experiences and best practices and approaches

 

The organization behind UPAKAT

The network was organized by Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education) and the Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP). It is being served by Tebtebba who acts as the UPAKAT Secretariat that supports the network in achieving its missions and objectives. UPAKAT is supported by the Stockholm Resilience Center, Sweden.

 

Get involved!

UPAKAT membership is open to indigenous communities and indigenous peoples’ organizations from the Philippines who are working for the promotion, protection and transmission of traditional knowledge.

Currently, there are 21 indigenous communities/indigenous peoples’ organizations who are members of  UPAKAT. The network is currently planning its first General Assembly in November 2016.

UPAKAT is envisioned to play a key role in the ongoing recognition of the indigenous knowledge as a complementary knowledge system for the mainstream science and as a knowledge and learning network on Article 8j and 10c of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Applications for UPAKAT membership are reviewed and approved by the council members.  To find out more about the network, please contact the following:

  • June Cadalig-Batang-ay at june[AHT]tebtebba.org
  • Datu Roldan Babelon at brunzb_kl[AHT]yahoo.com

 

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CBMIS Orientation at Tulludan, Tinoc, Ifugao, Philippines

 

August 27, 2016, Tinoc, Ifugao, Philippines – Under the Tulludan hall made up of wood and galvanized iron sheets that are characteristics of houses in the breezy Cordilleran mountains in the northern Philippines, more than thirty people gathered for a one-day orientation on the Community-Based Monitoring Information System or CBMIS. It was the first part of a two-day CBMIS orientation/Sustainable Economies workshop for the Tinoc community.

The CBMIS started years back as an initiative to facilitate the regular monitoring of lands and forests, particularly of indigenous peoples, whose worldview and way of living have been crucial factors in the conservation of the remaining forest cover in the world. Aside from the Lands, Territories and Resources domain, the CBMIS has since expanded to include Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Governance, Full and Effective Participation and Human Rights to encapsulate the interconnectedness of these elements of indigenous people’s well-being.

An essential work of the CBMIS involves explaining the importance of the set of indicators under each domain, their selection being a result of a series of consultations in the past with Tebtebba’s partner communities/organizations.

The number of attendees came trickling as the three Tebtebba staff explained the purpose of the CBMIS, how it started in their community, the Kalanguya, in Tinoc, Ifugao, and the indicators under each domain. While some have been oriented about CBMIS in the past, others, especially the youth, were not so familiar about the necessity of documenting and monitoring their traditional practices. The presenters tried to show how the monitoring of traditional practices such as the inum-an system can be cross-checked against the problems of garden expansion, for example, by counting the number of practitioners and measuring the area of their fields, forests or gardens. The inum-an system is the Kalanguya traditional practice of rotational agriculture in which parts of the forestland are made into swidden farms, after which they are left to regrow as forests again.

Admittedly, there was a slight miscommunication among the participants as to what the workshop entailed, as they had heard something about a computer literacy training. However by the end of the sessions, some reflections were shared about what they learned in the CBMIS orientation.

One of the most poignant of the sharing was that of a young woman who was informed that the workshop was a computer training. She reflected that despite the mix-up, she appreciated the new knowledge gleaned from the orientation. Furthermore, she shared that her generation had a lot of catching-up to do in terms of knowledge of the important traditions of the Kalanguya. The same woman, and two others, later presented themselves as willing encoders for the remaining researches that their local organization had conducted.

Every morning, the sun rises momentarily to greet the Tulludan community only to be engulfed by clouds, vigorous to remind that the rainy season is not yet over; but just as the CBMIS work in Tinoc may be fraught with clouds of doubt and hardship along the way, it is hoped that little pockets of sunshine will keep the work going for the benefit of the Kalanguya in Tinoc, Ifugao.

 

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