Friday, December 2, 2022

Value indigenous knowledge, Ukhrul woman tells COP27

The contributions of the indigenous people and their traditional knowledge and practices for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change must be respected and supported, says Zeinorin Stephen, founder of Hill Wild, reports East Mojo.
Zeinorin was speaking as the one of the panellists at the ongoing COP27, the UN climate conference at IFAD pavilion, Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt.
On the theme ‘Harnessing the voices of rural youth’, Zeinorin called the decision-makers and stakeholders of the world to support young farmers and indigenous communities to develop green enterprises and stated that “indigenous people are not just stakeholders, but they are also the rights holders.”
Hailing from Ukhrul district in Manipur, Zeinorin highlighted at the global platform the plight and struggle of tribal people and the absence of a proper system for sustainable livelihood.
“If we do not have a proper ecosystem and importance given to agriculture in low income areas, many will eventually tend to deforestation to sell everything the forest offers without any balance because it becomes a matter of survival,” she said.
She further stated that direct access to adequate and equitable funding has historically been and continues to be a serious problem for indigenous people and called the attention of the world leaders to give importance to indigenous communities.
Stressing on the contributions by indigenous communities towards climate change movement, social entrepreneur Zeinorin said, “Indigenous people value land rights and resources, food providers, build knowledge and skills, work with nature, and recognise that indigenous food is sacred. Indigenous knowledge must be included in public education, training, and capacity-building efforts for sustainable food systems,” she added.
Sharing her journey of becoming a social entrepreneur, Zeinorin said she was raised in the little town of Ukhrul and moved to the city for better opportunities. However, when she moved back home, she found degraded land and lost soil, a broken food system and unimaginable poverty in the society.
“The scenes had reminded me of why I moved away in the first place,” she said. But that triggered Zeinorin to start an enterprise of her own, making her self-employed, further on to employ more and she eventually began a farming movement. I asked myself – why take this responsibility, she said. “The reason why I’m so driven is because I was once in that place of poverty and I could have lived with a victim mindset. I came out of it with a champion mindset and I’m using that experience and journey to eradicate poverty in indigenous communities, so that no one is left behind,” said the young woman from the indigenous Tangkhul community to the global leaders gathered at the world summit.
According to the UN’s provisional list of participants, more than 33,000 delegates from across the globe have registered for Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP27), making it potentially the second-largest summit in COP history.

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