Food Systems Summit have been requested with a deadline of March 5th.ndigenous contributions to this year’s UN
The call follows a Committee on World Food Security event earlier this month to develop an Indigenous Peoples’ roadmap for the UN Food Systems Summit.
At the event Anne Nuorgam, Sámi people, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues, said, “At this stage we lack clarity on indigenous people’s role and participation at the summit. A lot needs to be done to ensure indigenous people’s participation is guaranteed.
“We have organised ourselves to share our knowledge on transforming food systems towards more sustainable systems for humankind.”
Indigenous peoples are safeguarding 80 per cent of the world’s remaining biodiversity. Inbuilt moderation of consumption, equity in food distribution, and an emphasis on ensuring food access for future generations makes indigenous wisdom vital for developing sustainabile food systems, the event heard.
Evidence-based information on the sustainability and resilience of indigenous people’s food systems is being presented to inform the UN Food Systems Summit.
Elina Kalkku, Under-Secretary of State for Development Policy of the Government of Finland, said there was a danger of indigenous people being left behind by the summit. The rights of indigenous people were vital for achieving sustainable development goals and protecting the planet.
“We would like the summit to recognise that indigenous people’s systems are game changers in the struggle against hunger”
She said, the prevailing paradigm had to be questioned as the only solution.
“In many areas indigenous people are fighting for their livelihood in response to climate change,” Elina Kalkku added. “They hold a wealth of knowledge and expertise in how to adapt, mitigate and reduce risks related to climate change.
“Sami people noticed climate change as early as the 1960s. The Sami people have found ways to sustainably adapt their reindeer husbandry to climate change. These are crucial learnings that help us protect the arctic region.”
Elina Kalkku said achieving food security is not possible without social justice; attacks against human rights defenders have been increasing.
And she said, “We need to mainstream gender equality as well as women’s and girls’ empowerment in all aspects of the Food Systems Summit.”
Myrna Cunningham, Miskito people, President of the Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean and member of the Steering Committee of the UN Food Systems Summit said, “What we would like from the summit is that indigenous people’s systems are recognised as game changers in the struggle against hunger.
“Indigenous food systems mean very low risk taking to ensure inter-generational equality”
“These systems are practised by more than 400 million indigenous peoples in more than 90 countries.
“We have been able to ensure the sustainability and climate resilience of our food system, although we face the violation of our rights.
“We believe that the summit should address our nutritional outcomes because of the multinational agribusinesses monoculture and impact on our territories.”
Gam Shimray, Naga people, Secretary-General of the Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact explained that indigenous food systems differ because they synergise conservation, livelihood, wellbeing and food.
Also, in the concept of equality, ensuring all is fair, and the concept of continuity. “This means very low risk taking to ensure inter-generational equality is not compromised,” he said.
Tuomas Aslak Juuso, President Sámi Parliament in Finland said the arctic region had not been included in preparatory meetings for the Food Systems Summit and pointed to the invisibility of indigenous people.
“The Arctic is on the frontline of climate change”
Sami, indigenous to Finland, Norway, Sweden and north east Russia, are the only indigenous people recognised in the EU.
He said, “The Arctic is on the frontline of climate change. Climate change is twice as intense in the arctic than in the rest of the planet.
“This is resulting in widespread social and economic impacts. The indigenous peoples of the arctic are especially vulnerable because of the close connection between their livelihoods and nature.
“Last winter was particularly difficult for reindeer herders, swinging from five degrees celsius to minus 30 degrees celsius. The snow would melt and then harden, making it almost impossible for the reindeer to dig under the ice to get food.
“In my own reindeer herding community our losses were 50 per cent. You can imagine what the impact is.”
To contribute to the paper, register here. The reference paper will be the main written evidence-based contribution from indigenous peoples to influence the United Nations Food Systems Summit in October 2021.