Saturday, August 9, 2008

Global warming threatens indigenous peoples: FAO

ROME (AFP) 8 August 2008 — Global warming and limited access to land and other resources threaten many indigenous peoples, the UN food agency warned Friday.

"Indigenous peoples are among the first to suffer from increasingly harsh and erratic weather conditions, and a generalised lack of empowerment to claim goods and services," said indigenous peoples expert Regina Laub of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Many indigenous groups live in vulnerable environments such as mountainous areas, the Arctic, jungles or dry lands, added the FAO statement released on the eve of the International Day for the World's Indigenous Peoples.

The FAO noted that native populations also played a critical role in adapting to climate change.

Indigenous communities are often the custodians of unique knowledge and skills, the Rome-based agency noted, adding that some 80 percent of the world's remaining biodiversity "that may be vital in adapting to climate change" is found within their territories.

The world's indigenous peoples population is estimated at 370 million, representing at least 5,000 different groups in more than 70 countries.

"Defending the recovery of ancestral lands, the self-determination of indigenous peoples and their human rights is at the core of their claims," the statement added.More >>>