Build capacities, listen to indigenous people to achieve climate resilience: Professor SB Roy 

How can these practices be interwoven into the current framework? It is possible and all that is required is a will to do that. 

Published: 11th December 2021 05:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th December 2021 09:16 AM   |  A+A-

Forest, Green Cover, Afforestation

Representational Image. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: While India has good acts and policies when it comes to involving the indigenous people in biodiversity conservation, it can’t be implemented properly unless it comes with capacity-building support, said Prof SB Roy, Chairman of the Indian Institute of Bio-Social Research and Development (IBRAD). He was in conversation with Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Upadhyay and senior journalist and author Kaveree Bamzai at The New Indian Express’ webcast series e-expressions.

Sanjay Upadhyay

Citing an example of tribals learning about organic farming, Roy added, “The various acts and policies should be looked at as complementary to each other and not in isolation. Only then can these acts actually become an important issue of climate resilience. The acts and policies have to be designed in such a way that it is compatible with the local culture so that they adopt it.”

Replying to a question about how these micro-level achievements of the indigenous people can be taken to a broader scale, Roy said, “There has to be a reorientation of the bureaucratic process, their ethos and values and also a reorientation of the forest field staff so that they learn the local culture. A management plan has to then be prepared based on the local culture, livelihood needs, environmental framework and economic development.”

Speaking about how to bring in such a change, Upadhyay said, “We have a lot of rich practices across the board but the trouble is whether we are listening to these indigenous people and their practices enough. How can these practices be interwoven into the current framework? It is possible and all that is required is a will to do that. 

“If there’s a will to do so then these systems can be integrated into the modern management plans. These systems are very strong tools of conservation, sustainability and climate resilience. Unless we take the practices of the indigenous people into the mainstream framework, we will not succeed.”

Answering a question about how to export indigenous practices to the rest of the world as India did with yoga and Ayurveda, Upadhyay said, “These practices need to be discussed at the Prime Minister Office (PMO) and NITI Aayog with demonstrated evidence that this needs to be told to the world. It needs to be a part of mainstream politics. Unless it is brought to the mainstream, the relevance of these practices will not be realised.”


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