Public Forum on Mountain Sustainable Development

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

The Andes mountain range is the backbone of Peru, regulating its climate, and providing critical services such as water, energy, biological diversity, key resources such as minerals, forest and agricultural products, and recreational services. However, as is the case around the world, Peruvian mountains are undergoing rapid change and environmental degradation. The vulnerability of the fragile Andean ecosystems coupled with the adverse impacts of climate change, deforestation, land use change, land degradation and natural disasters, has heightened marginalization in Andean communities. These uncertainties in the Andes requires greater coordination and articulation between actors, both public and private, in order to undertake effective and immediate action. 

The challenges facing mountain indigenous peoples requires, besides multi-sectoral support to develop place-based adaptation approaches that integrate mountain-specific strategies, more investment for research and knowledge generation that use participatory techniques that build bridges between traditional knowledge with science, with modern technologies and State and private-driven information systems such as research centers and academic institutions.

To respond to these needs, the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP) [1] , whose Secretariat operates out of the Asociación ANDES of Cusco, has for several years been organizing forums for the exchange of knowledge, information and best practices on Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD). In collaboration with the Potato Park and Association ANDES, a public forum, ¨Indigenous and Modern Knowledge Systems: Challenges and Opportunities for the Well-Being of Mountain Communities Towards 2050¨ was held on 19 April 2017 in Cusco.

The Forum was part of INMIP’s “Fourth International Horizontal Learning Exchange” that took place in the Potato Park from 20-23 April 2017. The exchange brought together experts from mountain communities from Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Taiwan, Tajikistan and Thailand in the Walking Workshop format [2] . This year´s theme focused on the methods, tools and processes for the establishment of Biocultural Landscapes where experts from the Potato Park trained members from the visiting communities on how to implement Agrobiodiversity Zones and Genetic Reserves.

The objective of the Forum was to generate and strengthen knowledge about the ecology and sustainable development of mountain ecosystems and to promote community and ecosystem-based adaptation and alternative livelihood opportunities. The Forum brought together national and international actors and experts, including representative from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas to present, to share and to discuss the most up-to-date research, information and programs in mountain-related issues.

The Forum was divided into two sections: 1) Setting the Scene, which included Key Note presentations by national and sub national authorities, and thematic presentations by national and international experts and community leaders; and 2) a Debate with a Round Table format amongst selected Experts with a Moderator to guide the discussions and a Provocateur to provide the “other view”.  The Round Table focused on how to support the establishment of a community monitoring and database system on SMD and how to contribute to the CBD 2020 Aichi Targets 11, 14 and 18, the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.

Expected outcomes included an agreement on the establishment of a monitoring and database system on SMD and that is managed by the communities; gaining knowledge about the progress made by Peru in SMD and sharing experiences of developing and implementing mountain-related policies; learn about best practices of Regional Governments in promoting SMD for inclusive growth and biocultural approaches to rural development; exchange of knowledge and information and to learn from the latest research and programs; reinforce South-South cooperation amongst indigenous peoples on biocultural mountain development; and to strengthen networking and alliance building amongst mountain indigenous peoples.

The Forum 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.

[1] The International Network for Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP) was established three years ago in the Himalayas of Bhutan among the ten participating countries of Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Taiwan, Tajikistan, and Thailand. INMIP was formed for capacity building in establishing and implementing Biocultural Heritage Territories and for sharing knowledge on climate change adaptation and the development of innovations that support resilience. INMIP is an important instrument for supporting implementation of local, national and international climate change programs and policies, and to strengthen sustainable management practices in mountain territories.

The network has celebrated three International Learning Exchanges (Bhutan in 2014, Tajikistan in 2015, and China in 2016) each producing a Declaration outlining key messages that call on governments, research and civil society organizations and the international community to recognize the value of biocultural heritage and traditional knowledge for strengthening natural resource management systems. INMIP annual Learning Exchange strengthens critical mass and provides a space for the sharing of traditional knowledge and practices for local food autonomy and climate governance.

[2] The Walking Workshop is a participatory, transdisciplinary sharing experience that uses the natural landscape as the primary means of knowledge transmission. Discussions typically take place around significant landmarks – fields, ceremonial sites, water sources – in contrast to formal workshop settings that are managed within an indoor, physically confined area and whose messages are conveyed through PowerPoint technologies. Participants actively observe, report and assess landscape features, which provides a spontaneous forum for sharing practical management and adaptation practices. Designed to immerse participants in an atypical presentation environment, this methodology generates cross-fertilization and transnational dialogue between knowledge systems.

Round Table Moderator on Monitoring and Database System in Biocultural Heritage Territories
Vice Minister of the Environment on Sustainable Development in Mountain Communities
INMIP Representatives from Kyrgyzstan and Thailand


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