Farmers and scientists from Ethiopia and Peru demand indigenous approach to conservation

Farmers and scientists from Ethiopia and Peru urges policymakers to establish indigenous bio-cultural territories as areas for conserving agricultural biodiversity.

News, 01 October 2009

A declaration issued this week by farmers and scientists from Ethiopia and Peru urges policymakers to establish indigenous bio-cultural territories as areas for conserving agricultural biodiversity.

The call, made at a workshop in Peru that ended on 29 September, urges recognition of indigenous peoples' and their rights to land and biological, genetic and cultural resources, and their rights to define their own food production and consumption systems.

Delegates highlighted the contribution of indigenous peoples to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity that is important for food and agriculture. They pointed to the importance of resilient, biodiverse food systems to sustain livelihoods, reduce poverty and help communities mitigate and adapt to climate change.

"The declaration encourages action research and South-South learning," says Dr Michel Pimbert, who heads IIED's sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and livelihoods programme. "It calls for the creation of democratic spaces for intercultural dialogue and the strengthening of interdependent networks of food producers and other citizens."

IIED's Peruvian partner AsociaciĆ³n Andes organised the workshop with the Association of the Communities of the Potato Park, a pioneering example of community based conservation of agricultural biodiversity.