UN Pre-COP26 side event: Climate resilience insights from the White/Wiphala paper with reference to the Khasi Food Systems

A side event of the UN Pre-COP26 on Climate Resilience of the Indigenous Peoples’ Food systems took place on the 30th of September based on the White/Wiphala Paper(WWP) on Indigenous Peoples’ food systems which was published this year in Rome.

The coalition is to work together and support the Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems (IPFS) to achieve zero hunger. NESFAS has always believed in the soft power that these indigenous communities hold. The White/wiphala Paper acts as a source for this knowledge and provides a game-changing solution which urges Indigenous Peoples to participate in policy making decisions. The WWP is coordinated by the Global Hub of the Indigenous Food System which gathers evidence on many aspects and strengthens the food systems to enhance resilience in the food system as a consequent result. 

Several people including NESFAS Senior Associate of Research and Knowledge Management, Bhogtoram Mawroh presented “Insights on climate resilience from the White/Wiphala paper with reference to the Khasi Food Systems”. While shedding light on the climate change happening in Meghalaya, he also stressed on the diversity of land use and food in Nongtraw. He says that the resilience of the food system of the Indigenous Peoples is most prevalent in the Nongtraw village and that the agrobiodiversity in the region is at a very vulnerable state. Indigenous Peoples occupy 25% of the Earth’s surface and the need to preserve their way of living is very exigent. 

Anne Nuorgam from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues (UNPFII) informed the attendees that the WWP includes enough evidence to suggest the importance of the indigenous food systems and that it is a key instrument in disseminating traditional knowledge and stabilizing the global food system. 

Gam Shimray, from the Naga community and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, informed us that 80% of the global diversity is in indigenous regions. IPFS are resilient to climate change and it plays a crucial role in food security. A staggering fact that he revealed stated that 476 million Indigenous Peoples in the world rely on their food systems for food security and sustenance. 

Bhaskar Vira, HOD of the Geography Department of the University of Cambridge said during his speech that the present and most pressing problem in relation to the food security of the Indigenous Peoples is directly related to climate change in their regions. Platforms of co-creation of knowledge must be created by respecting their rights. The coalition has come about by virtue of two major goals:

  1. To amplify the voices of the Indigenous Peoples so they can be heard across generations, and
  2. To disseminate and scale up the traditional knowledge and practices to transform global food systems at large.

Some major points highlighted during the event were as follows:

  1. To represent the Indigenous Peoples and involve all their regions and ecosystems. 
  2. To follow the UN’s guidance regarding this coalition. 
  3. To link the ideas and support the people to produce more food systems and diversify. 
  4. To put the ideas of the WWP and coalition at UN agencies. 
  5. Implementation of sustainable food systems.
  6. To link ideas and actions and put them in a holistic way to strive the way forward.
  7. To make sure the Indigenous Peoples’ children and youth can benefit in a way forward.
  8. To ensure that the cultures and knowledge of the Indigenous Peoples are respected in every way.

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Abhigyan Chakravorty
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