Second INMIP International Horizontal Learning Exchange
Climate Change and Biocultural Adaptation in Mountain Communities
Jafr and Tuggoz Communities, Tajikistan
In September 2015, indigenous mountain farmers representing 21 communities in 10 countries met in Tajikistan to discuss the impacts of climate change, exchange traditional knowledge for adaptation, and to develop collective responses. This was the second INMIP involving communities from Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Peru, Taiwan, Tajikistan and Thailand. Of the communities represented, about half are high-altitude communities (above 2,000 meters above sea level), a quarter are mid-altitude (above 1,000 masl), and a quarter are from low-altitude tropical rainforests (about 800 masl). A ‘walking workshop’ methodology was used, allowing farmers to exchange knowledge about problems and solutions while walking through the landscape.
Participants of the seven-day workshop documented climate change impacts since the Bhutan workshop, using the same assessment framework, exchanged techniques and tools for enhancing resilience, and agreed to establish international networks of Biocultural Heritage Territories and Community Seed Banks as collective responses for adaptation. The Tajikistan exchange consolidated INMIP as an institution for climate change innovation adaptation.
Sharing Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Heritage in Tajikistan
Tajikistan has a very rich biocultural heritage – it is a center of diversity of apples, pears, apricots, wheat, mulberry and cherry varieties, and a center of origin for rye and possibly apple. It is a highly mountainous country: 90% of the land surface is covered by mountains, and the Pamir region is so mountainous it has less than 0.04% arable land. The Tajik Pamirs are home to five main ethnic groups each with their own language: the Yazgulami, Shugnana-Rushani, Ishkashimi and Wakhani, which are all Pamiri, and the Kyrgyz ethnic group. These communities still base their livelihoods on traditional knowledge and worldviews, and are continuing to conserve and further develop many crop varieties in situ. Tajikistan was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. On the Russian (ie. Tajik) side of the border with Afghanistan, monocultures were planted and farmers started to lose their traditional knowledge and resilient seeds and agricultural practices, whereas South of the river, in Afghanistan, the Pamirs’ traditional farming systems were maintained. Driving through the barren landscape, it is striking to see how pockets of green vegetation coincide with human settlements.
The Tuggoz Declaration on Climate Change and Mountain Indigenous Peoples was developed at the international workshop. It calls on civil society, research organizations, and government authorities to analyse the impacts of recent climatic changes on Mother Earth and on our food and farming systems, and to develop responses to this crisis.
This Tajikistan Event Report provides a record of recent climatic changes experienced by the 21 indigenous mountain communities in 10 countries, and of the solutions they have developed based on traditional knowledge and experimentation. It also shows the potential of mobilizing traditional knowledge for enriching the evidence on climate change impacts on local livelihoods and food security, and for designing effective adaptation responses that support biological and cultural diversity. The report also aims to support the sharing of traditional knowledge for adaptation amongst communities in the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP) and beyond.
Walking Workshop Approach