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Asia

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities across Asia are facing significant challenges to their traditional ways of life, customary land and natural resources, including extractivism, land evictions and criminalisation.

In Asia, we partner with Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development (PASD) and the Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT) in Thailand, and Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP) in the Philippines, who are working to address these issues.

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Project Update April 2024

This Project Update, published in April 2024, brings together updates from the Transformative Pathways partners on their key activities and work undertaken since the start of the project in 2022.   Capacity building sessions on biodiversity monitoring have been a key part of the first phase…
11.04.24
Blog

Planting trees for the restoration of headwater and streams in a Pgakenyaw community

Thailand is located in the tropical rain forest. So, in the past, there were forest resources and highly abundant biological diversity. Then, the Thai government started to think about selling wood to generate income for country development.  The Department of Forestry was set up on…
09.04.24
Blog

Good breath with having a forest

We have all heard stories about the umbilical forest. Right? Maybe I’ve never even heard of it; maybe I’ve heard of it, but I don’t know the true meaning, or I don’t know the depth of what the word umbilical forest is, and I am…
09.04.24

Introduction to community-based environmental monitoring: practical guidance for monitoring of natural resources by Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

This guide is for the local organisations working with communities (e.g. community-based organisations and local non-governmental organisations), which are facilitating Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPs and LCs) to design and implement environmental and biodiversity monitoring activities on their lands. The guide includes approaches and…
03.04.24
Blog

Community-Based Monitoring and Information Systems in the Philippines 

Resource inventory in Ibaloy ancestral land claims  Residents of Sitio Muyot, Barangay Happy Hollow in Baguio City, conducted a resource inventory within the forested areas of their Ibaloy ancestral land claims last December 2023 and continued in March 2024, with the support of the Philippine…
03.04.24
Blog

Engaging Youth in Local Biodiversity Conservation of Baguio City

The student council of the University of the Philippines Baguio in partnership with the Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP) conducted an ecological walk and educational discussion on local biodiversity conservation and promotion in Busol Watershed and Forest Reserve in Baguio City, Philippines in March…
03.04.24

Further info

The situation of indigenous people, local communities and biodiversity in Asia is complex and varied, as there are many different indigenous and ethnic communities and ecosystems across the continent. In Asia, there are approximately 400 million Indigenous Peoples, making this the largest among all the seven UN socio-cultural regions of the world. Overall, however, many indigenous peoples and local communities  in Asia face significant challenges in maintaining their traditional ways of life, protecting their lands and natural resources and State recognition of their identities and rights. 

Among these challenges are criminalisation and violations of human rights that stem from extractive industries, agri-business, tourism, land-grabbing, eviction from protected areas and the shrinking of rights-based civil spaces. Defending these rights and organising actions of protest have become highly risky, with no access to justice. 

Shrinking civic space is also an issue for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Asia, which includes restrictive finance laws against Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). This undermines CSO’s ability to further economic development, support democracy and promote human rights, and navigating and managing this situation has resulted in a significant burden of work on rights-based organisations, especially Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Community organisations. 

Despite these challenges, many indigenous and local communities in Asia are actively working to protect their lands and natural resources, often with the support of civil society groups and international organizations. These efforts include community-based conservation initiatives that promote sustainable land use practices, as well as advocacy and legal action to defend indigenous and community rights and territories. This way Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities continue to defend their homes, govern themselves through customary laws, and practice knowledge systems which are contributing to advance the global goals set by the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 

Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ guardianship and spiritual relationships with lands and territories are distinct features of their worldviews. A strong sense of community, and kinship solidarity, collective ownership of land and resources, and consensus decision-making are some of the distinctive elements of social and political institutions that set Indigenous Peoples and local Communities apart. 

A group photo featuring the knowledge holders of the Indigenous Karen village of Huay Ee Khang. Huay Ee Khang village is in the Chiang Mai Province of Thailand.
A group photo featuring the knowledge holders of the Karen community village of Huay Ee Khang. Huay Ee Khang village is in the Chiang Mai Province of Thailand. Photo by Lakpa Nuri Sherpa/Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
A forester shows how to properly measure the diameter of a tree as part of the initial steps of measuring tree biomass during a training on resource inventory mapping held in Nueva Viscaya, Philippines.
A forester shows how to properly measure the diameter of a tree as part of the initial steps of measuring tree biomass during a training on resource inventory mapping held in Nueva Viscaya, Philippines. Photo by Ella Carino/PIKP