Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity

According to the United Nations, there are approximately 400m Indigenous people worldwide, representing more than 5,000 distinct ethnic groups. First Peoples, a non governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of these peoples emphasises the following: Indigenous peoples are one of the largest minority groups in the world, spanning over 90 countries. While Indigenous Peoples total only about 6% of the world’s population, they represent 90% of the cultural diversity. Indigenous peoples inhabits 20% of the earth’s land mass that harbour's 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. This is a very critical fact. It is therefore crucial that indigenous peoples, in this case the Bushmen be recognised as an important cog in the wheel that will sustain biodiversity in the regions they used to occupy, and are inhabiting at present. Their indigenous knowledge of ecosystems is invaluable to future planning and developing that influences them and their environment. But sadly this is not the case as indigenous peoples worldwide are sidelined from this kind of discussions and planning. It will be worth the effort to include first peoples in biodiversity planning with the aim to harness their wealth of intellectual assets and cultural property.

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