Why Bio cultural Assessments?
The social and political complexity of climate change and its impacts,
and the predictive limits of mainstream global models suggests that local
initiatives which use wider and locally contextualized frameworks are necessary
contributions for understanding change to assess impacts and develop
appropriate response strategies. The IPCCA has developed an indigenous
biocultural approach for conducting assessments of climate change and its
challenges to indigenous communities. Indigenous knowledge and practices have
historically produced resilient landscapes and territories, but climate change
threatens this resilience. Assessments of conditions and trends are producing
evidence of the use of indigenous knowledge for responding to extreme climatic
events, developing strategies that can build resilience and support adaptation
to safeguard rights and promote well-being. Our biocultural approach is based
on an indigenous vision of an interconnected world, in which the bio-physical,
socio-cultural and spiritual all play an important role in maintaining
resilience through the guiding principle of reciprocity. Such a contextualised
indigenous approach is able to provide evidence where global models and
processes fall short. Through linking local bio cultural realities with complex
global processes, the IPCCA assessments are providing indigenous communities
with the necessary tools and methods to deal with the threat of climate change.
In line with the main objective of the IPCCA to empower indigenous
peoples to assess the impacts of climate change on their communities and
ecosystems through using their own bio cultural frameworks a strategy was
developed that includes three parallel processes to build response strategies
and policy recommendations on multiple scales.
The three parallel IPCCA processes:
Local Assessments to be carried out by communities using indigenous
inquiry methods to understand the impacts of climate change on their
biocultural systems and build appropriate adaptation strategies.
A Global Assessment to be carried out by Working Groups focusing on how global
processes and drivers of climate change impact upon indigenous peoples. Secretariat coordination between local partners and working groups, and
management of the Indigenous Knowledge Base Portal to ensure that local and
global processes complement and build on each other as they progress.
The three processes are shown to be occurring simultaneously, the red arrows
indicate the flow of information and knowledge between them. Information from
global and local assessments will feed into an indigenous knowledge base portal
which is in construction and will be managed by the Secretariat. Each process
will produce reports at specific points throughout the process, formally
facilitating knowledge exchange. Simultaneously the Secretariat will coordinate
development of synthesis reports to feed into international climate change
science and policy development processes. The first synthesis report will be
presented at the UNFCCC COP 16 in December 2010, focusing on indigenous
knowledge and extreme climatic events.
Strategic Policy Goals
The parallel processes of the IPCCA will all feed into reaching
strategic goals related to indigenous rights and policy, such as:
First and foremost, the IPCCA process will support indigenous rights over
territory and resources, thus ensuring the conditions within which resilient
indigenous systems can continue to foster bio cultural diversity and protect
fragile and bio diverse ecosystems. An important goal of the Local Assessments undertaken under the IPCCA is to
empower indigenous communities to develop adaptation plans that are culturally
appropriate. These adaptation plans are part of life plans, and the IPCCA will
seek to engender direct funding opportunities through climate change adaptation
funding and other sources to ensure locally appropriate response strategies.
The IPCCA processes will illustrate the critical role that indigenous knowledge
plays in dealing with current challenges such as extreme climatic events.
Further, the IPCCA will seek recognition of the role of indigenous knowledge in
order to ensure its integration into national policies such as preparation of
National Adaptation Plans of Action and international policies for adaptation
financing and other arenas such as the CBD, FAO, UNFCCC and other processes
related to indigenous peoples.
The IPCCA also aims towards furthering an indigenous agenda within the wider
climate justice and equity agenda, with particular focus on gender roles and
recognizing and supporting effective participation of women in mitigation and
To guide the three parallel IPCCA processes, a conceptual framework has
been developed, based on indigenous interpretations of local bio cultural
territories, indigenous resilience and well-being or buen vivir, and
understanding climate change as a manifestation of interactions between direct
and indirect drivers and processes of global change.
The direct and indirect drivers of climate change impact the buen vivir and
indigenous resilience that together form a holistic bio cultural system.
Examples of the key elements that work towards indigenous resilience and buen
vivir, as well as the processes and trends considered to be drivers (for example;
economic and socio political trends, traditional resource rights policies,
scientific and technological trends are indirect drivers while global
consumption and production patterns, land conversion patterns, environmental
degradation are direct drivers) are included as guidelines for local assessment
The arrows connecting direct and indirect drivers with the local Bio cultural
system and its indigenous buen vivir/resilience show interactions across time
and space, providing a means for conceptualizing how processes on multiple
scales and with different time-space distributions interact with elements of
the Bio cultural system. All arrows are double headed, indicating the mutual
relationship between processes and elements of the Bio cultural system.