Fourth International Horizontal Learning Exchange, the Potato Park, Peru

Resilient Biocultural Landscapes Walking Workshop held in the Potato Park, Pisaq, Peru

To continue with the capacity development objectives of INMIP, from 20-23 April INMIP members met in the Potato Park in Pisaq, Peru in a horizontal knowledge exchange to jointly explore and share biocultural methods and tools for ecosystem conservation and restoration that work to strengthen food security resilience and the reaffirmation of indigenous identities.

The principle aim of the capacity development session in Cusco was to share the experiences, accomplishments, successes and lessons learned of the Potato Park communities in establishing a Biocultural Heritage Landscape. Participants also evaluated the feasibility of establishing biocultural heritage landscapes in their respective countries based on the community-managed landscape model developed by the Potato Park. INMIP, in association with Asociación ANDES and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), brought together community experts and practitioners of Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand and the United States.

The training session gave special focus to planning, governance and the use of biodiversity, the strengthening of indigenous identity, and the legal and juridical framework for the development of biocultural heritage landscapes. Other issues included strategies for the mobilization of scientific and traditional knowledge as a buffer against biotic and abiotic stressors and a defense against social, economic, and ecological shocks.

The Potato Park in Pisaq, Cusco, Peru, was chosen as a site for this capacity development session for its global recognition as a successful and mature model of landscape conservation, climate change adaption, and the sustainable use of biological resources. The Potato Park itself is a center of origin of the potato, which has for centuries been a focal point of the Andean food system. This genetic diversity has been maintained through the practice of the Andean cosmovision or “ayllu” that promotes an integrated, holistic model of co-living between physical, biotic, and cultural elements. Participants observed first-hand the alternative development approach of Quechua-speaking communities that are based on local business models that enhance the sustainable use of local resources and successfully integrate both ancestral knowledge and modern innovations as a strategy to secure the resilience and productivity of agro-mountain systems.

The workshop culminated in the Potato Park Declaration that calls 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 provision of ecosystem services. It calls for the legal recognition and protection of indigenous peoples’ Biocultural Heritage Territories, landscapes and land rights and support for participatory action-research with indigenous mountain communities that fully respects their traditional knowledge, local institutions, and collective rights to knowledge and innovations to enable communities to address the urgent threats posed by environmental and socio-economic changes, particularly climate change. 

The Walking Workshop was organized by INMIP, the Potato Park and Asociacion ANDES with the generous support from the Office of the Second Vice President of Peru, Ministry of Environment of Peru, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Regional Government of Cusco, the Regional Government of Apurimac, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Tamalpais Trust, The New Field Foundation, The Christensen Fund, The International Institute for Environment and Development, and The Swift Foundation.

Representatives from Apurimac, Peru in Farmer-to-Farmer Learning, Community of Amaru, Potato Park
GIS Mapping Activity of Wild Potato Varieties, Community of Pampallaqta, Potato Park


5th Horizontal Learning Exchange

  • Kyrgyzstan 2018
  • 07 - 07 February 2018

Fourth International Horizontal Learning Exchange

  • Potato Park Communities, Pisac, Peru
  • 20 - 23 April 2017

Public Forum - Indigenous and Modern Knowledge Systems: Challenges and Opportunities for the Well-Being of Mountain Communities Towards 2050

  • Cusco, Peru
  • 19 April 2017

Third International Horizontal Learning Exchange: Biocultural Adaptation in Mountain Communities

  • Stone Village, China
  • 18 - 23 May 2016

Second International Horizontal Learning Exchange: Climate Change and Biocultural Adaptation in Mountain Communities

  • Jafr and Tuggoz communities, Tajikistan
  • 11 - 18 September 2015

First International Horizontal Learning Exchange: Mountain Communities Workshop on Climate Change and Biocultural Heritage

  • Jangbi and Ura Communities, Bhutan
  • 26 May - 01 June 2014