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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

IPs Among Main Victims of Climate Change, Land-grabbing, Environmental Destruction

Nakakaawa naman ang ating mga IPs sapagkat palagi na lang sila ang nagiging biktima ng mga ganitong bagay. Dapat siguro na atin namang pangalagaan ang kapakanan nila sapagkat tulad natin ay mamamayan din sila ng bansang ito...

Indigenous peoples (IPs) are among the major victims of climate change. This phenomenon threatens their very existence. They are also victims of land-grabbing and environmental destruction.

BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. north of Manila)— Indigenous peoples (IPs) are among the major victims of climate change. This phenomenon threatens their very existence. They are also victims of land-grabbing and environmental destruction.

This was emphasized in the press conference of the recently-concluded Asia Workshop for the Promotion of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) here on June 10.

According to Joan Carling, a member of the advisory council of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), indigenous peoples have nothing to do with the worsening conditions of global warming but they are in the front line as victims of this phenomenon and as victims of the government's mitigation measures.

"Because of the distortion of the agricultural cycle brought about by climate change, farmers cannot recognize anymore when the wet or dry season would be and this greatly affects the farming cycle leading to food insecurity," said Carling.

Also tackled in the press conference was the government's promotion of bio-fuel production. According to the panelists, the conversion of lands originally used for food production into bio-fuel plantations is one of the main reasons for food scarcity, soaring food prices and widespread hunger across the globe.

"The impact of the issue of bio-fuel production is that our lands are being taken away from us," said Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) secretary-general Jannie Lasimbang. She added that they anticipate massive land-grabbing in the expansion of bio-fuel plantations.

Dams, which are also promoted by governments as sources of energy, were also cited as contributors to widespread ethnocide. They destroy the social cohesion of indigenous peoples through dislocation and the destruction of their traditional resources.

Carling said the indigenous peoples have actually been practicing sustainable resource management systems that have preserved the environment.

"As the original environmentalists and conservationists, the indigenous peoples have ways to preserve the environment and prevent the damaging effects of environmental degradation that has not only been recognized," said Carling.

The centuries-old Banaue rice terraces were cited as good examples of such indigenous practices. The terracing prevents the erosion of land and manages the irrigation from forest watersheds.

Lasimbang lamented, however, that these indigenous ways of managing the resources are neither acknowledged nor recognized by "modern" agricultural systems today.

Promotion of IP rights

According to Christian Erni, the Asian coordinator of the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), the UN declaration was a result of a 20-year struggle of different IP groups and their support groups.

"It was a result of a global IP movement which is considered as one of the most successful movements in the world," said Erni.

Since the adoption of the UNDRIP in September of last year, different IP groups, lobby and advocate groups have been campaigning for its promotion and implementation by the different governments.

"The battle was already won with the UN adoption of the declaration but the war is not yet over," Erni said, adding that their group would still closely monitor its implementation by the different states.

The Asia workshop, attended by 80 participants representing 40 organizations from 10 Asian countries, was the first regional occasion where the UNDRIP promotion was discussed.

"It is a historic event especially that the discussions were at various levels and the participants came from different backgrounds," said Chandra Roy, regional IP program coordinator of the UN Development Program (UNDP).

The action plan of the Asian workshop includes themes on IP women, identification and recognition of IPs as distinct peoples, partnership with UN agencies and advocacy groups, local struggles, networking, issues on health, human rights, self-determination and self-governance.

According to Carling, there are about 300 million people worldwide who are part of groups classified in their own countries as indigenous cultural communities, and two-thirds of them are in Asia, "thus the declaration would be implemented largely in Asia." Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat

Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 19, June 15-21, 2008

Source URL:
http://www.bulatlat .com/2008/ 06/ips-among- main-victims- climate-change- land-grabbing- environmental- destruction

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