Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Impacts

Session Organizer(s): 
Victoria Reyes-García

While the evidence is growing that Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) are disproportionally being affected by climate change impacts, few acknowledge that Indigenous and Local Knowledge (ILK) systems can contribute towards understanding climate change impacts on local social-ecological system. However, throughout the world, IPLC with a long history of interaction with the environment have developed intricate and complex knowledge systems (including information, management techniques, and forms of organization) that allow them to detect not only changes in local weather and climatic variability, but also the direct effects of such changes in the physical and the biological systems on which they depend.

In this session, we aim to bring together researchers, practitioners, and knowledge holders to share their experiences on both topics. Thus, we aim for presentations featuring case studies of how IPLC social-ecological systems are being affected by the effects of unexpected extreme rainfall events, floods, droughts, pasture disappearance, extinction of medicinal plants, changes in animal behaviour patterns, or the appearance of pests and invasive alien species, phenomena generally related to climate change. We are also looking for presentations exploring how ILK can be an alternative source of knowledge in the quest to understand climate change impacts on local social-ecological systems and how combining such knowledge with research on climate change impacts offers the potential to design successful climate adaptation policies. At the end of the panel we will discuss the importance of establishing a global network around the concept of local indicators of climate change impacts to significantly advance climate research and help to bridge the gap between place-based and global climate research.