Indigenous Terra Madre Asia and Pan-Pacific Offers Solutions to Climate Crisis

Traditional indigenous knowledge promises food security for communities at risk and provides wide-ranging solutions to the global climate crisis

Sapporo, October 11Indigenous Terra Madre Asia and Pan-PacificOctober 11-14, 2019 in Sapporo (Japan)—is the third major edition of the event, this time hosted by the Ainu Women’s Association Menoko Mosmos in collaboration with Slow Food Nippon, Slow Food and the Indigenous Terra Madre Network.

Over 200 participants from 27 countries are united to discuss how indigenous peoples’ food systems can help heal our broken relationship with the environment, our food, and our communities. These indigenous food systems represent a unique and invaluable resource for the preservation of biodiversity, as well as tools for tackling deforestation, hunger and malnutrition.

“Over the millennia indigenous peoples have developed and handed down a wealth of agricultural techniques, many of which are adapted to the more extreme environmental conditions we are now facing worldwide like droughts and floods,” says Dai Kitabayashi, member of the Advisory Board of Indigenous Terra Madre for East Asia. “By empowering indigenous peoples through food and exploring both traditional perspectives and new approaches, we can continue our stewardship of the planet, in a way that not only benefits indigenous peoples but all humankind. At Indigenous Terra Madre Asia and Pan-Pacific we will share our best practices so we can each go back to our communities and share the new knowledge that we have acquired here.”

Among the topics discussed during the four-day event, there’s a focus on:

THE CLIMATE CRISIS

Indigenous peoples face the climate crisis daily, but not passively. They are becoming resilient, putting mechanisms in place to adapt to these changes affecting their food systems. The UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) states that indigenous knowledge is necessary to minimize the climate crisis.

LAND RIGHTS AND LAND GRABBING ISSUES

Indigenous peoples’ relations to their land is crucial in many aspects. Through them, they sustain their livelihoods, preserve their traditional food systems and knowledge and therefore, safeguard their culture. Indigenous food systems are tightly liked to spirituality and agricultural rituals, which define their traditional knowledge. However, worldwide indigenous communities’ land rights are often at stake, facing issues such as limited access to land and land grabbing. In synchrony with the Lands Right Now! Global campaign, the event will present cases of land grabbing in different ecosystems and successful victories against it.

ECO-CULTURAL TOURISM EXPERIENCES

Indigenous communities have suffered from the spread of commercial tourism which leads to resource destruction, land appropriation and the loss of traditional knowledge. The successes and challenges of eco-cultural tourism will be discussed at the event: these initiatives are fully community-owned and managed, and thus represent opportunities to generate sustainable income and help keep traditions alive.

THE ROLE OF WOMEN

Indigenous women play a paramount role in the protection and development of ecosystems: they are seed guardians and custodians of biological diversity, and their use of neglected and underutilized crops promotes the diversification of food production and promotes food security. However, these women are often more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men and face bigger challenges such as reduced access to resources and opportunities.

THE ROLE OF THE YOUTH

Discrimination, lack of access to education and lack of sustainable opportunities create an existential dilemma for indigenous youth: whether to maintain their roots in the indigenous community or pursue an education and employment in cities far from home, where pressure to assimilate means few return to their ancestral lands. These youth have enormous potential to transform their communities, and be drivers of positive change: so how can we incentivize them?

Program highlights:

On Friday 11th, the event will start at 10am with a traditional greeting ceremony to honor the ancestors of the land. In the afternoon there will be a symposium on “Healing Climate and Food Insecurity”.

On Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th, delegates will participate in several breakout sessions, with the central theme of “Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems”, focusing on the following topics:

  • Climate Change
  • Languages and Food Culture
  • Biodiversity and Nutrition
  • Sharing Eco-Cultural Tourism experiences: Which Food to Offer?
  • Land Rights and Access for the Revival of Indigenous Peoples’ Food Culture
  • Reviving Indigenous Peoples Food Culture: The New Role of Chefs
  • Old and New Food Ways: Opportunities for Indigenous Youth
  • The Role of Indigenous Women
  • Spirituality
  • Protecting Food Culture and Diversity through Ark of Taste Project

During the weekend a Marketplace will offer indigenous food from the Ainu and Ryukyu peopels, as well as food items brought by delegates from across the Asia and Pan-Pacific area. There will also be an indigenous youth training program.

On Monday 14th, the event will end with a final document read as a “prayer” to heal the climate and food system, where participants will voice their commitment to working towards a collective goal through concrete action.

For more information please contact:

Giulia Capaldi – Slow Food HQ: internationalpress@slowfood.it

Slow Food is a global network of local communities founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions and counteract the rise of fast food culture. Since its founding, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure that everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.  

Indigenous Terra Madre Asia and Pan-Pacific event will be held at the Ainu Culture Promotion Center “Sapporo Pirka Kotan,” in Hokkaido, and will be organized in collaboration with The Christensen Fund, Japan Foundation ASIA CENTER, Pawanka Fund, Tamalpais Trust, the International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Mitsubishi UFJ Foundation.

Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM) is a network of indigenous communities, partners and organizations that aims to bring indigenous peoples’ voices to the forefront of the debate on food and culture, to officialize indigenous peoples’ participation in the Slow Food movement and its projects and to develop regional and global networks. ITM events are co-organized with indigenous communities and are hosted in their homelands with support from partners. Today, ITM involves thousands of individuals in over 370 communities, located in 86 countries around the world. More than 800 indigenous products are already included in the Ark of Taste catalog of endangered foods and indigenous communities run almost 60 Slow Food Presidia. Several indigenous chefs are active in the Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance.

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