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UNESCO’s “On the Frontlines of Climate Change” Discusses Early Impacts of Climate Change

© UNESCO13 June 2009: “On the Frontlines of Climate Change,” an internet forum launched by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in partnership with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), has published an article on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD). The article, titled “The Drying of the Tana Delta, Kenya,” highlights perspectives from Kenya on early impacts of climate change.

Two Kenyans, Geffrey M. Riungu and Joan Otengo, describe their experiences with climate impacts on the Tana River, including the changing of the river's course, the reduction of water due to evaporation, and concomitant impacts on food and water availability for subsistence farmers, fishermen and minority communities. Riungu and Otengo also depict the changes to the wetlands and resultant salt infiltration into farms, as well as climate impacts to human-wildlife relationships. The article concludes with a discussion of the Kyoto Protocol's impacts on the indigenous populations of the Tana Delta, and urges consideration and consultation of indigenous groups when instituting carbon sequestration and biofuel projects. [The Article]