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Myanmar: Indigenous understanding of Salween River key for biodiversity by Saw John Bright October 13,2021   |  Source: The Third Pole

This week, governments from around the world will convene online for the first part of the UN Biodiversity Summit COP15 (the second part will convene partially in-person in Kunming in spring), which will agree on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Framed as a ‘stepping stone’ to the 2050 Vision of ‘Living in harmony with nature’ as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), ratified by 196 countries, this framework is intended to deal with runaway biodiversity loss over the next decade. Increased attention is being paid to how Indigenous Peoples have for centuries realised this aspiration of harmony. Indigenous Peoples manage or have rights to 22% of the world’s land, yet this land supports 80% of the world’s biodiversity, even as they struggle to regain ancestral lands that were taken from them in many places. What is less recognised is how Indigenous understanding and perception of reality upholds this harmony.

The CBD meeting three years ago promised greater inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and traditional knowledge, and there is much discussion of these issues ahead of COP15. The CBD developed the Akwé: Kon Guidelines in 2004 and further deepened involvement with the launch of a Traditional Knowledge Information Portal. Despite this

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