By VERNI YOCOGAN-DIANO
BAGUIO CITY — The second part of a study made by the Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center (CWEARC) entitled Cordillera Women: Pursuing Indigenous Knowledge for Food Sovereignty was released in early May 2012.
The study was conducted in two traditional agricultural communities in Mountain Province specifically Dalican in upper Bontoc and Nacagang in Sagada. Similar to the first part which was conducted in the communities of Malibcong and Baay-Licuan in Abra, the study demonstrated viability of indigenous knowledge in agriculture and resource management in ensuring food resources and sustainability of local productive resources.
A concluding remark states, “the study in the communities of Dalican and Nacagang shows how indigenous knowledge and practices help sustain the food production strategies of the people. Social life is affirmed as reciprocal labor (ub-ubfo in Dalican, ub-ubbo in Nacagang), voluntary labor (kharatis) and other rituals regarding food production and well being continue to be practiced even as people accept new ideas and new ways of life.”
Further, the study concluded that the growing economic pressure and the incursion of cash economy encourage individualism, consumerism, commercialization and commodification. These emerging values are a big threat to what communities regard as the common good putting market values for community services and goods or resources including land, natural and food resources.
The study was timely when sustainable development became a global discourse in the recently concluded Rio+20. Unfortunately, the world economic designers led by the US and governments of industrialized countries want to lead the world to profit-oriented and market-based solutions to the global economic, climate and environmental crisis.
The Outcome Document of the Rio+20 carried on Green Economy as a solution to poverty eradication which received strong criticisms from major groups of civil society including indigenous peoples, women, youth and farmers. In reality, this is promotion of Greed Economy.
A critical point in the Outcome Document is the section that state…“..mining offers the opportunity to catalyze broad-based economic development, reduce poverty and assist countries in meeting internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, when managed effectively and properly (Point 227).
The Outcome Document of the Rio+20 is not “The Future We Want” but essentially it is “The Future THEY Want.” Civil society including major groups like women and indigenous peoples have expressed their disgust over the outcome. On the other hand, the civil society events have allowed exchanges of perspectives and affirmative actions.
Indigenous peoples and other grassroots resonated their perspectives of sustainable development as the true reflection of the future WE want, highlighting self-determined development practices of indigenous peoples and women which include viable indigenous knowledge on agriculture and natural resource management.
While the Rio+20 was ongoing, there was a gathering of churches and faith-based organization led by the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Bogor, Indonesia to conclude the Alternative to Economic Globalization Addressing Peoples and Earth (AGAPE) which began in 2006. The AGAPE process was the WCC’s response in guiding its constituency on the relations between poverty, wealth and ecology.
In the Bogor forum, the participants called on churches and the ecumenical family to work together for poverty eradication and ecological justice, a timely call and action on the failure of the Rio+20.
The studies made by CWEARC contributed in resonating the perspective of indigenous peasant women and their communities in those two recent international events where the world’s future was discussed. Copies of the study maybe ordered from the Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center through firstname.lastname@example.org or (+63-74) 442-5347. # nordis.net