Advocating for the Local Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples as an Effort to Build Climate Resilience

On Thursday, 4th of September 2019, RMI participated in the Asia-Pacific Climate Week (APCW) that was held on 2-6 September 2019 in Bangkok. Through a presentation called “Indonesia’s Customary Forests: Indigenous People’s Fundamental Role to Build to Build Climate Resilient and a Long Struggle over Cultural Identity”, RMI delivers that indigenous ecological knowledge is the key to conserve land, forest, river, and the other natural resources. The indigenous peoples contributed in preserving the most protected lands as well as preventing the release of carbon emissions to the atmosphere. The determination of customary forests in addition to contributing to the achievement of the NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) target also means providing access for the indigenous peoples in Indonesia to legally manage their forests sustainably and recognizes the existence of these indigenous peoples and all their cultural identities that are still strongly attached to nature.

In this opportunity, it was also stated that the establishment of customary forests was not the only final destination, because the indigenous peoples need to be able to manage their customary forests in a sustainable manner. Based on the results of the pre and post determination research on customary forests conducted by RMI with FAO’s support, it is known that indigenous women and youth groups were still minimally involved in the management of these customary forests. In addition to the lack of opportunities and lack of space for participation, the capacity of women and indigenous youth to manage their customary forests is still limited. On this basis, RMI facilitates a variety of participatory and inclusive training – involving women and youth – for indigenous peoples to increase their capacity in terms of community management and their customary forests. Specifically RMI also opens opportunities for youth to build connectivity with fellow indigenous youths as well as rural and urban youth. One of these youth networks can be formed due to the collaboration between RMI and OROL (Our River Our Live) – the campaign for river biodiversity and environmental health throughout Southeast Asia.

In addition to the panel discussions and thematic dialogues; APCW also organizes Knowledge Corner activities, Action Hubs, and Side Events that provide opportunities for stakeholders to deliver climate actions / initiatives carried out in their respective countries. In general, all APCW activities discuss energy transitions, industrial transitions, natural-based solutions, local and urban action, and resilience and adaptation as the main sectors for implementing climate-based innovations.

The APCW can be a tool to develop multi-stakeholder climate action in accordance with the spirit of the Talanoa Dialogue in 2018. The dialogue initiated cooperation and discussion that were participatory, inclusive and transparent. Therefore APCW provides space for stakeholders (government representatives, the private sector, civil society organizations, academics and international institutions) to gather and together formulate recommendations for the achievement of the target of climate neutrality by 2050.

This event was organized by the UN ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific) along with the other international organizations such as UNCC (United Nations Climate Change), IGES (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies).


Writer: Supriadi

Editor: Mardha Tillah and Dinda Tungga Dewi

Translator: Amanda So

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