Mountain Network Newsletter

A Note on our 2018 Walking Workshop:

Representatives of 11 member countries of the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP) met from July 26 to 31, 2018, in Kyrgyzstan for the fifth Horizontal Learning Exchange on “Biocultural Heritage for Resilient Mountain Communities”. Members collaboratively explored and celebrated the local biocultural heritage, using the landscape as a tool for experiential learning and horizontal knowledge exchange.

The INMIP Walking Workshop is unique in its capacity to bring together members and supporters from around the globe in support of conservation of biocultural heritage and the scaling-up of effective innovations that enhance livelihoods and local biodiversity, ecosystem integrity and cultural resilience. Kyrgyz partner organizations, local community members, and INMIP members facilitated workshop sessions on traditional knowledge, practices, and spirituality in the context of sustainable use and management of forests and pasture lands, protection of local biodiversity, and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods through organic farming approaches. Participants discussed the adaptation of traditional cultures in the context of globalization, evolving gender norms, migration, and climate change.

The INMIP International Coordinator led workshop participants in a half-day session focused on the new concept of "Food Crop Neighbourhoods” (FCN). Building on the previous exchange on Indigenous Biocultural Heritage Territories in the Potato Park in 2017, participants were able to identify its relevance and its applicability as biocultural landscape units, which capture the range of indigenous perceptions of local biocultural complexes associated to indigenous food and agriculture systems of mountain communities. Many place-based indigenous communities share the concept because it describes biocultural landscapes as essential to their food sovereignty and territorial expressions. The FCN concept is helping INMIP members, particularly those located in Vavilonian Centres of crop origin and diversity, to use “generalizable” biocultural landscape units, including the particularly strong interactions among plants (including wild and domesticated food crops), the governance of biocultural landscapes, livelihoods and climate change adaptation, among others. Further exploration of this concept will be a point of focus for upcoming exchanges and global policy processes, and the basis for a joint workshop proposal to establish FCN in each INMIP member country.

A Public Round Table entitled “Mountains, Climate Change and Migration”, was held in the Kyrgyz capital city of Bishkek, bringing together academics, scientists, policy makers, and INMIP members to discuss internal and external migration in mountains, the role of various organizations in rural development and organic farming.

The workshop concluded with a collaborative visioning for the upcoming network coordination, mission, outputs, and activities. A working group was established to create a declaration highlighting key issues and points highlighted in the Kyrgyzstan event, calling on governments, religious and spiritual leaders, research organizations, civil society organizations and the international community to recognize the value of indigenous peoples´ spiritual values and expressions, the critical importance of biocultural heritage and the important contribution of indigenous mountain peoples knowledge to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services. 

Thank you to all who contributed to this great work.