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June 28 2010, MMSEA - Workshop on Rotational Farming, Biodiversity and Climate Change
The workshop on Rotational Farming, Biodiversity and Climate Change was organized on 28 June 2010 at Chiang Mai University with the collaboration with the Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact, Center of Ethnic Study and Development, the Sub-Committee of Karen Life Revival, Lawyer Council, IMPECT Association, Northern Development Foundation, and Karen Network for Culture and Environment. There were 96 participants (male 59, female 37) came from government representative (University, Forestry official, Environment Policy Development Office, and military), academy, NGOs, indigenous leaders, students and medias. More>>>
June 3 2010, MMSEA - No Specific Laws for Conservation of Indigenous Knowledge in MMSEA
China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand have elaborate laws for the protection and conservation of biodiversity and environment. They have signed the Convention on Biological Diversity. However, there are no specific laws for conservation of indigenous knowledge. In fact, except for Cambodia, the terms “indigenous peoples” and “indigenous knowledge” are not used in the three countries. In Vietnam and China, “ethnic minorities” and “minority nationalities” are used respectively and instead of “indigenous knowledge” they have used the term “traditional knowledge”. In Thailand, the government has used the term “hill tribes”. The indigenous peoples (IPs) who have been addressed by different names here are the most marginalized peoples. They have difficulties continuing their traditional livelihoods and cultural practices due to prejudices, assimilationist and developmentalist policies pursued by the states. This has impacted in the IPs’ ability to practice indigenous knowledge (IK) and in the degradation of environment. For example in Vietnam, IK has been ignored in the farming method on terraced fields which has been changed therefore the sloping land is plowed in the same way as in plain land, causing soil erosion. Moreover, there are gaps in the actual implementation and the laws on paper. For instance there are laws in general, referring to the “Hill tribes” (Thailand), “minority nationalities” (China-PRC Constitution item 4, article 4,), “ethnic minority” (Vietnam-Article 5, Vietnamese Constitution) and indigenous peoples (Cambodia) that provides provisions for the development, preservation and protection of “ethnic” groups’ written and spoken languages, customs, cultures. However, in terms of implementation, for example teaching of mother-tongue has not been included in the national curriculum in any of these countries. In Cambodia, there are many laws that have direct bearing on the rights of the IPs for example land laws, forest laws that recognize the rights of the IPs to practice shifting cultivation in the protected areas (PAs). However under a sub-degree, the government has divided the PAs into: core zone, conservation zone, sustainable use zone, and community zone. Shifting cultivation is allowed only in the community zone with no proper classification. Nobody knows these zones and has led to misappropriation of the PAs and denial of IPs and local communities’ rights. Thus in Cambodia, promulgation of sub-degrees has often led to taking away of IPs’ land. In most of the Southeast Asian countries, shifting cultivation, which helps in the in-situ conservation of seeds and plant biodiversity apart from providing diversity of food crops to the IPs, has been banned. Instead, the states have introduced intensive cultivations using high breed seeds, monoculture, cash crops and chemical pesticides that have resulted in the disappearance of indigenous seeds and wild plants, and degradation of soil quality. It has also led to the loss of IK in traditional cultivation system and lessening of community respect for nature due to increasing needs brought about by growing wealth and materialism. In addition, such programmes have affected the IPs’ capacity to adapt to different climate and weather changes, their ability to practice and transfer their indigenous knowledge (IK) to young generation. This applies to all the countries mentioned above.
In most of the development programmes it is seen that the objectives and activities are focusing only on economic development ignoring the rights and social issues. The IPs’ identity and cultural rights are not considered in their approaches. In Cambodia, economic land concessions, migration from low lands to interior areas and also people selling their lands for consumer goods have had impact on the natural resources and biodiversity conservation.In Thailand, 28.78 per cent of total land area of the country is declared as national parks, protected areas etc which mostly fall in the IPs’ inhabited areas. This has infringed on their rights and their ability to continue their traditional livelihoods. In the name of forestry conservation and modernizing the IPs, the states have carried out resettlement programmes (Thailand and Vietnam) which in actuality causing negative effects in the biodiversity conservation and IK. While enacting forest laws and declaring national parks, the state has not sought the prior informed consent of the IPs who are most affected and as stipulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
It has been found that in all these countries when there are join collaborative managements between the state agencies and the IPs, they have succeeded in protecting and conserving forests and sustainable use of natural resources which are beneficial to the people as well. Thus there is strong recommendation for IKAP to follow up as one of its activities - to enhance the capacity of the indigenous leaders, the knowledge holders and carry out advocacy to promote IPs’ rights and for valuing of IK in the conservation of biodiversity and natural resource management.
April 8-9 2010, CHINA - Community Experts Workshops in Lijiang
Yulong Culture and Gender Research Center is conducting two projects about Naxi language.The purpose is to provide an exchange platform for people from different Naxi commnunitie. The Center organgized the workshop from April 8-9l in Lijiang. In the workshop, 30 experts of children's songs sat together and shared their knowledge, experience and art. During the other workshop, organizers shared achievements of the project to date such as problems identified and solved from the field surveys. On the afternoon of the 9th, the experts divided into two groups and visited two kindergarten classess. In the evening of that day, they organized one culture evening for the participants.
March 30 2010, BURMA - New Karen Teachers Study Indigenous Participatory Action Research in Wartorn Karen State Burma.
The Karen Teacher Training College (KTTC) is a place for Karen youth from internally displaced communities throughout war torn Karen State, Burma to become teachers for their communities. KTTC itself is located inside Karen State.
This week second year students who are one month from graduation did an intensive week of training in Indigenous participatory action research theory and methods. These new teachers, once they return to their communities, will be expected not only to teach in schools but also play vital roles in community leadership. Indigenous participatory action reaserch is a process embedded in community knowledge and values which seeks to maximize villagers involvement with an explicit call to action to solve problems within the community.
Saw XXXX said, "Before, the word 'research' seemed above me, something I could never catch. But now I understand that we can all do research for the benefit of our people."
KTTC is organized by the Karen Teacher Working Group (http://ktwg.org) which is itself an IKAP member. KTWG is a local Karen education organisation providing teacher training and educaion assistance throughout Karen State, Burma. KTWG places special focuses on developing teacher's interest and capacity to intergrate Indigenous knowledge and local resources into the classroom practices.
April 4, 2010, THAILAND - International Cultural Festival: Royal Patronage from the Mountains to the Seas.
The Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples (IKAP) network, Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT) and Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP) in cooperation with the Office of National Culture Commission, Ministry of Culture, the Office of the National Human Rights Commission, Government and Non-Government Organizations, and civil society will organize “The International Cultural Festival: the Royal Patronage from the Mountains to the Seas
” from 1 – 5 May 2010 to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Coronation Day of the present King Rama IX.
Thailand is the country in Asia and Pacific region with her salient feature of cultural diversity
where various ethnic groups have been coexisting since time-immemorial. This can be traced back to the history even long before the establishment of the Kingdom. For the coming millennium, cultural diversity is valued as the richness of human cultural heritage in the new world system.
The present King of Thailand in particular has illustrated his royal interest in this cultural diversity from the beginning of his royal duty through his various visits to ethnic communities located in very remote areas stretching from the North to the South of the country. H.M. the King plays his active role as a model for government officials and his citizens to uphold the pride of human values as well as to respect the rights and cultural differences among the people. This attitude is believed to bring about social cohesion that the people will cooperate in maintaining and passing on these diverse cultural identities to the next generations. Thus, people with different cultural backgrounds are able to learn through their practice to create the culture of peace and mutual respect in Thai society.
In addition, the United Nations has declared “The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development” to be celebrated on the 21 May of every year. Moreover, the United Nations in commemorating the Human Rights Day of 2009 has emphasized the theme of non-discrimination as reflected in the slogan, “Embrace diversity, End discrimination”. The focus on non-discrimination will continue throughout 2010. Moreover, the present period also falls within the years 2005-2014 designated by the United Nations as the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People and coincides with the ongoing realization of the International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
Office of the National Culture Commission (ONCC), Ministry of Culture, Office of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT), in cooperation with Government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, business sector, and civil society are working together to organize “The International Cultural Festival: the Royal Patronage from the Mountains to the Seas” in order to celebrate H.M. the King’s initiatives and efforts towards respecting cultural diversity in Thailand and at the same time to promote the non-discrimination campaign launched by the United Nations.
- The event is aimed at honoring H.M. the King for his endeavor to achieve the fundamental freedom and the rights of all ethnic groups in Thailand.
- The idea for Thailand is to participate in the celebration of “The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development” and the United Nations promotion of non-discrimination.
- It is an opportunity to highlight the importance of the UN Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People and promote the realization of the International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
- It is expected that the power of culture would be strengthened to become the major driving force for development and peaceful livelihood.
- This effort is to communicate with the public to understand the values of cultural diversity and to live together peacefully.
- Seminar on “The Royal Patronage from the Mountains to the Seas”.
- Photographic Exhibition of the Royal Visits to Indigenous Communities and Marginalized People in Thailand.
- Demonstration of indigenous livelihood reflecting various forms of cultural heritage, namely, food, costume, artisan, artistic performance, and local occupation.
- Indigenous Consciousness Market.
- International Indigenous Cuisine and quiz.
- Trade fair of products under The Royal Project and other King’s Initiative Projects.
- International Indigenous Cultural Performances.
- Painting and Photographic Contest on “Indigenous Intangible Cultural Heritage” with focus on food, costume, artisan, and artistic performances.
- Three-dimension film on “Eight Decades of Thai Kings”.
- Short Film Contest on “Indigenous Intangible Cultural Heritage”.
- Film Show on the Royal Duty in view of visits to indigenous communities.
- Exhibitions organized by academic institutes and related agencies.
- Production and dissemination of media on indigenous peoples and cultural diversity.
April 8 , 2010, IKAP Regional - Concept Paper: Strategy Workshop on Rotational Farming/Shifting Cultivation and Climate Change
IKAP's Regional Director releases concept paper on Rotational Farming. The paper explains that Rotational Farming/Shifting Cultivation (RF/SC) is a cultural and physical integration of forest and agriculture; it is indigenous agriculture. It is one type of agro-forestry which stresses the connection between the agricultural system and the ecosystem. RF incorporates the dynamics of management and continuous adaptation required by the ecosystem.
March 2010 - Herbal Medicine Exchange Visits
The Kangmei Institute of Community Development and Marketing, with support from WWF, organized one exchange visit between a number of different herbal medicine projects to improve the sharing of knowledge and experience. Kangmei facilitatated work between Forestry Department of Sichuan Province, delegates fromthe project areas, Yulang nature protection area, and Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and one group from Daci village. Through 5 daysof field study, the participantswere asked to widen their train of thought. This exchange visit improved villagers’ participation and initiative. It also increased their capacity to manage their work independently in thefuture, and as such ensure sustainable development, and reduce threaten environmental damage caused by certain community practices of herb collecting.
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