Climate Change Experiences in Northern Australia – Health, Adaptation, Fire Management and Global Relevance

Climate Change Experiences in Northern Australia – Health, Adaptation, Fire Management and Global Relevance Conference Proceedings

International Public Forum on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: The Tropical Australian Experience

  • Author(s): Galloway McLean, Kirsty
  • Published: 2008

Abstract: This book contains the proceedings of an International Public Forum on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change - a collaborative effort between Charles Darwin University (CDU), the United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) Traditional Knowledge Initiative, and the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), held at CDU on 3 April 2008. The outcomes of the forum contributed to the International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change which was held from 2 to 4 April 2008 in Darwin, Australia, which in turn was submitted to the seventh session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held from 22 April to 2 May 2008 at the UN Headquarters in New York. Speakers were invited to share case studies on practical experiences, particularly focussing on the impacts of climate change on indigenous peoples and adaptation, mitigation and opportunities for carbon projects. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring several international experts in order to relate the Australian experience with experiences worldwide. The fascinating observations of the expert speakers have been reproduced here to benefit a wider audience. Jeremy Russell-Smith introduced the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project and opportunities for Indigenous engagement and enterprise development across northern Australia in relation to fire matters and Dean Yibarbuk spoke of the cultural aspects and involvement of countrymen in this partnership. Wendy Brady provided many examples of the enormous capacity of Indigenous Australians for adaptation. Bart Currie spoke on the nexus between anthropogenic climate change, environmental health and human health, and Ngaire Brown provided perspectives on cultural determinants of health, and impacts of climate change on land management and Indigenous health in Australia. The international panel comprised experts from the Arctic, Asia and the Pacific who provided commentary on the similarities of Indigenous experiences of climate change worldwide, and discussed the implications of a rapidly changing world on the application of traditional knowledge. Indigenous peoples have contributed the least to world greenhouse gas emissions and have the smallest ecological footprints on Earth, yet they are suffering the worst impacts of climate change. As the effects of climate change continue to capture the attention of the international community, we hope that the discussions from this forum can help policy makers in their ongoing consideration of the impacts of a changing climate on Indigenous peoples, as the world considers how best to address these problems in ways that take into account not only the needs, but also the valuable contributions of Indigenous peoples in Australia and elsewhere.

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Suggested Citation
Galloway McLean, Kirsty, 2008, Climate Change Experiences in Northern Australia – Health, Adaptation, Fire Management and Global Relevance, Conference Proceedings, viewed 01 December 2021, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3134.

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