International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP)

Began 2014

The International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP) brings together mountain communities from 11 countries as they seek to revitalise biocultural heritage for climate-resilient and sustainable food systems. IIED provides communications, advocacy and capacity support for INMIP.

People sitting in a pasture

The fifth Horizontal Learning Exchange of the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples took place in Kyrgyzstan in July 2018 and concluded with a 'visioning session' held in a pasture in the Suusamyr valley (Photo: copyright Alan Zulch)

INMIP is an Indigenous Peoples-led network coordinated by the Peruvian indigenous NGO ANDES (Association for Nature and Sustainable Development). It aims to strengthen the resilience of indigenous mountain peoples in the face of global change by revitalising biocultural heritage, particularly spirituality, indigenous knowledge, customary laws, biodiversity and indigenous landscapes; and to advocate for policies that protect the rights of mountain indigenous peoples. 

INMIP members comprise indigenous mountain communities in centres of crop diversity and domestication, and supporting NGOs and research organisations, in Bhutan, China, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand and the Philippines. 

INMIP uses a 'horizontal learning' approach to promote the exchange of traditional and local knowledge between communities that are living in similar mountain agroecosystems and facing increasingly pressing climate change, biodiversity, cultural and socio-economic challenges. The network's walking workshops enable practical learning about how to address shared challenges through empowering community-led processes.


INMIP was established in Bhutan in May 2014, at the 14th Congress of the International Society for Ethnobiology (ISE). ANDES and IIED were co-chairs of the ISE Global Coalition for Biocultural Diversity, and organised a Mountain Communities Initiative workshop in Bhutan, which gave rise to the network. 

The aim of the workshop was to provide concrete benefits for communities in Bhutan through an exchange that brought together indigenous mountain communities from different countries, using a ‘walking workshop’ methodology. IIED co-supported this event through its SIFOR project and with FCDO funding.

Annual learning exchanges

Since Bhutan, INMIP has held annual learning exchanges in Tajikistan, China, Peru and Kyrgyzstan, involving walking workshops in different mountain communities. These have each had a particular focus on learning from local biocultural heritage and climate adaptation work – such as revitalisation of native fruit trees in Tajikistan, customary water management in China, the Potato Park biocultural territory in Peru, and walnut forests and nomadic herders in Kyrgyzstan. 

INMIP exchanges have also provided rare opportunities for equitable dialogue between indigenous mountain communities and policymakers on pressing issues such as climate change and out-migration, which is exacerbating the loss of traditional knowledge. The exchanges have also looked at the question of how to promote inter-generational knowledge transmission, and how to develop market linkages for biocultural products and services. 

What is IIED doing?

IIED has helped establish this emerging network through fundraising and facilitation support; rapporteuring and producing detailed reports of each workshop to collate the evidence for a policy audience; supporting the production of INMIP declarations; organising side events at UNFCCC, UNESCO and FAO conferences; and issuing news stories and media releases with INMIP.


Declaration of the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP), INMIP (2021), Report

The Maize Park Biocultural Heritage Territory in Lares, Peru. Case study guidance on biocultural heritage territories, Krystyna Swiderska, Tammy Stenner, (2020) Case study

Building a global biocultural brand to support indigenous landscapes, Krystyna Swiderska, Alejandro Argumedo, Graham Dutfield (2019), IIED Briefing

Biocultural heritage for resilient mountain communities, Krystyna Swiderska, INMIP, Tammy Stenner (2019), Workshop Report  

The Suusamyr Declaration, International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP), (2018) Report 

Resilient Biocultural Heritage Landscapes for Sustainable Mountain Development, Krystyna Swiderska, INMIP (2017), Event Report 

Potato Park Declaration, International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (2017), Report

Landscape approaches for mountain community sustainable development in a time of climate change: Policy Consultation and South-South Exchange Workshop and INMIP Mountain Community Exchange Walking Workshop (2016), Event Report 

National Farmers' Participatory Breeding and Seed- Sharing Network, China (2016) Event Report

Stone Village Declaration, International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (2016), Report 

Biocultural Adaptation in Mountain Communities: Third INMIP International Learning Exchange, Stone Village, China, Jessica Reilly, Krystyna Swiderska (2016), Event Report

Climate change and biocultural adaptation in mountain communities: second international learning exchange of the International Network of Mountain Indigenous People, Krystyna Swiderska, Pernilla Malmer (2016), Event Report

The Tuggoz Declaration on Climate Change and Mountain Indigenous Peoples, International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (2016), Report

Mountain Communities Workshop on Climate Change and Biocultural Heritage, Krystyna Swiderska, Alejandro Argumedo (2014), Event Report 

The Bhutan Declaration on Climate Change and Mountain Indigenous Peoples, International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (2014), Report

Additional resources

Website: Biocultural heritage

Website: International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP)

Project: Indigenous biocultural heritage for sustainable development (2018-20)

Press release: Local farmers are key to saving world's seed diversity (2017)

Event: IIED at the Seventh Session of the Governing Body of FAO Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources (2017) 

News: Biocultural heritage landscape to be established in Eastern Himalayas (2017)

Project: Smallholder innovation for resilience (SIFOR) (2012-17)

Video: Stone Village biocultural heritage and INMIP learning exchange 2016, IIED

Press release: Mountain communities call for stronger action to counter climate change (2016) 

Event: IIED at the IUCN World Conservation Congress (2016)

Press release: Extreme climate impacts already causing devastation in mountain communities (2015)

Photo film: Introducing Biocultural Heritage Territories (2014), IIED

Photo film: Una pelicula introduciendo a los Teritorios de Patrimonio Biocultural (Spanish language) (2014), IIED

Video: Guardians of Diversity: International climate exchange in the Potato Park, Peru (2014), IIED


Tamalpais Trust

New Field Foundation

The Christensen Fund


UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme


ANDES (Association for Nature and Sustainable Development)

Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP)

Farmers Seed Network (FSN), China

Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)

Lok Chetna Manch

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