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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Comprehending and Constructing Indigenous Resilience to Climate Change in South Asia

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As climate change accelerates, the is increasing its efforts to support to help countries become more climate resilient.

As climate change continues, the World Bank is working on supporting Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Development (GRID) to enhance countries’ ability to deal with climate challenges. This includes a specific focus on Indigenous Peoples who are especially vulnerable to climate impacts and play a crucial role in managing natural resources sustainably. Many of the world’s remaining forests are located in indigenous territories.

Indigenous People possess resilience, based on knowledge and practices passed down and adapted over generations to sustainably manage the landscapes and ecosystems that support their food systems, livelihoods, and cultures. As climate-related disruptions increase globally, there is much to learn from Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, practices, and adaptations. Recognizing the significance of these practices enables external partners such as the World Bank to better support these communities.

The South Asia region is home to many Indigenous Peoples with diverse cultures residing in remote landscapes and facing climate-related risks and disasters.

In Pakistan, the Kalash people in the Chitral valleys of the Hindu Kush Mountain range rely on natural resources for sustenance and have a deep understanding of sustainable environmental management. Their traditional knowledge and practices prioritize forest and water conservation, the use of local herbs for medicine, and emphasize the spiritual and cultural aspects of the natural world. This specialized knowledge has been handed down for generations.

For instance, local shepherds possess valuable knowledge of glaciers, forests, and mountains within the community. The Kalash people use traditional practices such as the Suri Jagek to predict weather patterns and the likelihood of natural disasters based on celestial observation. This practice also determines suitable times for planting crops and forms the basis for the community’s social calendar including festivals and religious ceremonies.

In Nepal, the indigenous Tsum community has taken a lead in environmental conservation through their traditional institution, Shagya, to safeguard the Valley’s natural environment, biodiversity, and culture.

In India, tribal groups like the Kondh in Odisha have successfully revived vast areas of local forests using traditional patrolling practices.

In September 2023, the World Bank collaborated with the Center for Indigenous Peoples Research and Development to convene a gathering of Indigenous thought leaders and experts from 14 countries around the region, including India, Pakistan, and Nepal, to discuss the drivers and enablers of Indigenous resilience.

Understanding and enhancing Indigenous resilience will necessitate genuine engagement, consultation, and involvement of Indigenous Peoples in climate actions. This will be essential for implementing green, resilient, and inclusive development strategies to prepare for future climate shocks.

The World Bank currently offers direct financing to empower Indigenous Peoples and local communities through the Dedicated Grant Mechanism, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) IPLC Capacity Building Fund, and most recently through the Enhancing Access to Benefits while Lowering Emissions (EnABLE).

The event was part of a World Bank initiative, Building Back Better- Enhancing Indigenous Peoples’s Resilience to Climate Change, supported by the World Bank Human Rights and Empowerment Trust Fund, the Enhancing Access to Benefits while Lowering Emissions (EnABLE) Trust Fund, and PROGREEN. It aims to develop a framework for understanding Indigenous Peoples’ resilience to shape the Bank’s policy dialogue and operational lending related to Indigenous Peoples.

Topics: Social Sustainability and Inclusion

Countries: India, Nepal, Pakistan

Regions: South Asia

Series: Sustainable Communities

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