Harnessing indigenous peoples' knowledge for a food-secure future in the face of climate change

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Harnessing indigenous peoples' knowledge for a food-secure future in the face of climate change

What: The fourth global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples' Forum at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) promotes indigenous peoples' knowledge and innovations for climate resilience and sustainable development.

When: 9:00 Tuesday 12th to 17:00 Wednesday 13th February, 2019.

Where: IFAD Headquarters, Via Paolo di Dono 44, 00142 Rome, Italian Conference Room.

Who: Gilbert F. Houngbo, IFAD President; Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples; Myrna Cunningham, President, Centro para la Autonomia y Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indigenas (CADPI); Joan Carling, UN Environment Champion of the Earth 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Story: The Indigenous Peoples’ Forum was established in 2011 as a permanent process between representatives from indigenous peoples’ organizations, IFAD and governments. This year the Forum is focusing on the promotion of indigenous peoples’ knowledge and innovations for climate resilience and sustainable development to further strengthen rural transformation.

Over two days participants will focus on:

  • Reinforcing indigenous peoples role as custodians of a large part of the world’s biodiversity. Due to their close relationship with the environment, indigenous peoples are uniquely positioned to address and adapt to climate change.
  • Increasing investments to support indigenous organizations, institutions and communities, with a focus on youth and women, that build on their knowledge and innovations to address climate change and/or strengthen climate resilience.
  • Supporting indigenous peoples in securing their lands, territories and resources, including through mapping and advocacy.


  • Indigenous peoples’ water-harvesting/irrigation systems increase water supply in water stressed environments. In Tunisia, the Amazigh people use the "jessour system," which consists of dams and terraces for collecting run-off water, enabling cultivation of olives, fruit trees and grains.
  • Indigenous knowledge is used to rehabilitate the soil, and adapt and react to floods and droughts. In Bangladesh, flood-affected indigenous communities cultivate saline-tolerant varieties of reeds, and saline-tolerant and drought-resistant fruit and timber trees, reducing vulnerability to floods and sea-level rise and ensure longer-term income generation.
  • Indigenous peoples’ community-based forest management sets aside conservation areas, woodcutting and watershed management zones, which have an important role to play in reversing the process of deforestation. The Miskito people of Nicaragua maintain three land-use types (cultivated fields, pastures and forest areas), while in Indonesian Borneo, the Dayak Jalai utilize a shifting mosaic land-use pattern that includes patches of natural and managed forest.

Webcast: https://bit.ly/2S9wJWR

For media accreditation to the event, email Ifadnewsroom@ifad.org by cob 8 Feb.

Further information:

The Indigenous Peoples Forum at IFAD

IFAD's work with Indigenous Peoples

IFAD's Indigenous Peoples video library

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$20.4 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 480 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.


Media contact

Image of Jessica Thomas

Jessica Thomas

Communication Associate, Communication Division


Image of Brian J. Thomson

Brian J. Thomson

Senior Communication Specialist