Friday, May 29, 2009

Rising Up Against Climate Change

The Baka people, an indigenous tribe of hunter-gatherers that lives in eastern Cameroon, have a distinctive culture of their own – a semi-nomadic people, the Baka were revered by European colonialists for the prowess in elephant hunting. But thanks to the UN, the Baka can add one more skill to their roster: film-making. UNDP and the Global Environment Facility supplied video cameras to members of the Baka tribe, and they’re using them to make short films about how climate change is affecting their livelihoods.

The video program is one of the ways that the UN is working to implement its Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, landmark legislation that the General Assembly approved in 2007. In this case, the Baka people now have the tools to communicate to policymakers and put indigenous concerns on the agenda. And they’re teaching what they’ve learned about making videos to other communities through Okani, an organization whose name means “rise up” that the Baka founded.

Check out the video below to see what the Baka community has been working on. Or, read more about the program here.