Indigenous people and local communities have received few benefits from the commercial use of the wealth of traditional crops and medicinal knowledge they have developed.
The humble potato is a great example of how Quechua communities in the Andes have maintained crop biodiversity.
In 1997 a British barrister uttered three words that left my sister and me speechless and gave us a glimpse of the future.
These were Ban Ki-moon’s words at the opening of the annual meeting of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York, 16th May 2011. He gave the example of indigenous peoples in Peru who are responding to climate change by reintroducing native potato varieties and so are “helping to conserve the earth’s biodiversity”. “Indigenous peoples have been living a ‘green economy’ for centuries,” he added — economists should look to old practices in indigenous communities for new ways to achieve sustainable development.