16 December 2021
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan / Bogor, Indonesia
Nomadic pastoralists, local communities, indigenous peoples, and rural women hold traditional practices and knowledge that are key in safeguarding and conserving ecosystems in the face of a global crisis like climate change. That was one of the critical findings from the Regional Conference on Locally-Managed Ecosystems in Asia, organised by the International Land Coalition (ILC) Asia Platform on Ecosystem Restoration.
Hijaba Ykhanbai, a member of ILC from JASIL Mongolia, said that ecosystems around the world are suffering from climate change. Still, there needs to be higher recognition of the role of local communities and pastoralists in climate change adaptation. “Nomadic pastoralists from around the world manage rangeland ecosystems that are equal to 54% of the world’s land surface. Pasture users are known for their traditional knowledge.”
Nomadic pastoralists in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Mongolia, among others, are dependent on animal husbandry to make ends meet. In Mongolia, for example, the livestock industry for long has been a major economic activity and a social safety net for marginalised Mongolians, accounting for 10% of the country's GDP and 30% of employment. However, in recent years, climate change and overgrazing have led to sharply rising land degradation, posing a threat to the country's livestock industry. However, the false presumption is that pastoralists and local communities contribute to carbon emissions and exacerbate climate change.
“Local communities are the most suitable and successful actors to manage their ecosystems. Unfortunately, in many countries, there exists an erroneous opinion that the governments should protect the ecosystems from the negative impacts caused by the local communities livelihoods. A more proper way to look at it is that the local ecosystems are conserved by and with local communities,” said Aibek Samakov, the event moderator and the Central Asia representative of ICCA Consortium, an international association dedicated to promoting the recognition of territories conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities.
The goal of the event was to share the best practices in climate change adaptation across Asia, with a special focus on nomadic and farming communities.
Kyrgyz Jayity, an ILC Asia member, piloted the innovative project by collaborating with local communities in Kyrgyzstan to conserve irrigation water by creating artificial glaciers (constructions). These constructions were allowed to successfully provide water for pastures during dry seasons by the contribution of local villagers.
Dr Tek Vannara, a member of ILC from the NGO Forum Cambodia, shared in the event how the livelihoods of local communities in the country have been seriously affected by the intensification of floods and droughts, which led to the damage of paddy rice fields and other farming crops. “Local communities in Cambodia use traditional knowledge to make rice storage higher than flood level along the Se San River. Other solutions include shifting their cropping calendars to avoid harvest during periods of intense rainfall,” said Vannara, referring to the river that flows through central Vietnam and northeast Cambodia.
The event was being held at Park Hotel Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, with the objective of building a partnership with stakeholders and conducting a learning exchange on climate-related issues. The event put a special focus on the impact of the climate crisis on ecosystems, local communities and indigenous peoples in the Asia region and the necessary climate actions in the post-COP-26 Agenda.
For further information, please contact
Andita Listyarini, ILC Asia
Languages: English, Indonesian
Kunduz Adylbekova, ILC Asia
Languages: English, Russian