As indigenous peoples’ around the world face extreme climatic events that threaten their livelihoods and well-being, responses that stem from indigenous knowledge, experiences, wisdom and world views are urgently needed. The IPCCA has emerged as an innovative response, bringing together indigenous knowledge and science in a process which links biocultural realities with complex global processes. Use of biocultural methods and tools involve communities from around the world in the assessment of climate change and local well-being and the development of evidence-based responses for climate change adaptation. We believe that indigenous adaptation processes must continue nurturing biocultural diversity in order to build resilience and better respond and adapt to the changes we face.
Under the IPCCA, 9 indigenous-led biocultural assessments are empowering indigenous peoples to develop and use indigenous frameworks to assess the impacts of climate change on their communities and ecosystems. The assessments are taking place in a variety of fragile ecosystems such as the Arctic and tropical rain forests, using emancipatory methodologies which combine science and traditional knowledge through inter-cultural dialogue. The assessments are facilitating the development of evidence-based community adaptation plans known as life plans. Life plans are the result of place-specific assessments of conditions and trends and are developed through community visioning and scenario building, combining traditional knowledge with cutting-edge technologies to build indigenous resilience and adaptive capacity to mitigate impacts and enhance biocultural diversity for food sovereignty, livelihoods and well-being. Life plans provide opportunity to implement response strategies through a biocultural landscape/territory approach, thus nurturing resilient biocultural systems.
As climate change is a global phenomenon, the IPCCA is also undertaking a Global Assessment of indigenous peoples vis-à-vis climate change, producing reflections for policy development to support implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ and strengthen the role of indigenous knowledge in building appropriate solutions to the challenge of climate change. Part of the strategic policy goals of this indigenous initiative is to enable local voices to reshape the climate change debate.