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The Community Palli (8-17 October), the latest in the Equator Initiative series of community dialogues, brought together more than 30 participants, representing 23 local and indigenous organizations from 11 countries, in a nine-day dialogue held parallel to the COP-11 to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India. Follow the links below for coverage of individual sessions.
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Monday October 8, 2012

Biodiversity Conservation for Enhanced Livelihoods 
13:15 – 14:45
CEFNARM (Center for Forest and Natural Resources Management Studies), AP Forest Academy

On the first day of the CBD CoP 11, the Community Palli hosted a high-level side event organized by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Academy and its Centre for Forest and Natural Resources Management Studies (CEFNARM). The event was attended by the Assembly Speaker for Andhra Pradesh, Mr. N. Manohar, who endorsed the impressive efforts of the state forest department in linking biodiversity conservation and improving the livelihoods of rural communities.

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Tuesday October 9, 2012

Opening of the Community Palli
10:00 - 11:00 

The session began with an opening blessing offered by a local priest, accompanied by music. Together with Eileen de Ravin, the priest then lit a candle, signifying the official opening of the Community Palli. This was followed by introductions by all of the participants and from Ms. de Ravin, manager of the Equator Initiative, who welcomed everyone and briefly described the evolution of the initiative since 2002.

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Medicinal Plants and Traditional Knowledge – Building on Grassroots Success
11:00 – 13:00

The first of the Equator Prize winner thematic workshops was on the role of medicinal plants conservation in supporting livelihoods and local wellbeing, with a focus on the policy conditions needed to scale up local success in this field. The session built on the success of the medicinal plants workshop held in Bangalore, at the Institute for Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine (I-AIM), October 1-5. The event was moderated by Govindaswamy Hariramamurthi (“Hari”), Assistant Director and Head of the Centre for Local Health Traditions at I-AIM, Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT.)

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Capacity-Building Initiatives for Indigenous and Local Communities on Traditional Knowledge and the Nagoya Protocol
18:15 – 19:45

The first day of the Community Palli concluded with a side event featuring a number of initiatives targeted at building the capacity of indigenous and local communities in preparation for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. These included the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network for the Latin American and Caribbean Region (IWBN-LAC), in partnership with the CBD Secretariat: Florina López Miro presented on the network’s strategies for capacity building around these issues.

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Wednesday October 10, 2012

Business and Biodiversity – Realizing Benefits from Biodiversity Conservation
11:00 – 13:00

Many Equator Prize winners have been successful in establishing ecosystem-based enterprises that have brought win-win solutions for biodiversity and local communities. The value of these businesses is in demonstrating the benefits possible from sustainable use of natural resources; their strength and sustainability depend on how successfully they have managed to do this.

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Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Global Environmental Assessments
13:15 – 14:45
UNESCO, SCBD, SwedBio

This session provided an update on recent efforts to bring indigenous and local knowledge into scientific assessment processes (including the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, the newly-established Inter-governmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and Future Earth), and consider case studies presented by indigenous peoples where community-based knowledge complements and advances current scientific understandings, while sustaining cultural integrity and fulfilling local needs.

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Reflections, Reporting Back, and Next Steps
15:00 – 18:00

During the afternoon session on Wednesday 10 October, Community Palli participants shared their experiences of the CoP 11 to date, as well as of the Medicinal Plants workshop in Bangalore that preceded it.

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UNESCO-SCBD Joint Programme of Work: Links between Biological and Cultural Diversity: Next steps forward
18:15 – 19:45
UNESCO, CBD Secretariat 

This event provided an update on initial progress and steps forward on the joint programme of work between UNESCO and the SCBD developed at the International Conference on Biological and Cultural Diversity for Development (June 2010, Montreal). Introduced by Dr. Ram Boojh of UNESCO, the session featured presentations on the linkages between cultural and biological diversity.

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Thursday October 11, 2012

The Role of Indigenous and Local Communities in the CBD
9:30 - 11:00

John Scott (Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat) spoke with the Community Palli participants about the engagement of local and indigenous communities with the CBD. Among the opportunities he mentioned was joining IIFB drafting groups focused on specific issues within the CoP agenda, and becoming involved in the NGO Forum or the CBD Alliance.

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People and Protected Areas: Routes to Policy and Legal Success
11:00 – 13:00

The third of the Community Palli’s thematic workshops focused on relationships between protected areas and local communities, based on first-hand experiences from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. The session was moderated by Jamie Ervin, UNDP Senior Advisor on Protected Areas, who opened proceedings by providing an overview of relevant international conventions and frameworks relating to protected area management. She also posed five discussion questions for speakers to consider during their presentations: What motivates local conservation of sites? What benefits can accrue to local people as a result of protected area management?

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PA Governance In India – Where Do We Stand In Terms Of Tenure, Relocation, And Possibilities Of Coexistence?
13:15 – 14:45
ICCA Consortium 

Since the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act, protected areas in India have vastly increased in number. There are currently 669 such areas. Some of India’s most marginalized and vulnerable communities depend on these areas for their livelihoods – while India is striving to meet its obligations under the CBD, the rights of some of these local communities are not being sufficiently recognized. This session explored prevailing trends in protected area policy and how these affect local communities, echoing many of the sentiments from the morning’s workshop.

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National ICCA Federations and Coalitions Ready to Take Conservation Authority and Responsibilities Towards Fulfilling the Aichi Targets for Biodiversity
15:30 – 18:00
ICCA Consortium 

The ICCA Consortium led a workshop on the role of federations and coalitions of indigenous peoples and local communities in protecting the natural and cultural values of their territories and conserved areas. The session brought together representatives from the ICCA Consortium, GEF-Small Grants Programme, Koalisyon Ng Katutubo at Samahan Ng Pilipinas (KASAPI), Union of Indigenous Nomadic Tribes of Iran (UNINOMAD), Tafo Mihaavo, Kalpavriksh, Coope Solidar, The Christensen Fund and the Equator Initiative, among many other international contributors.

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Community Protocols and FPIC: Lessons from Practice and Challenges Ahead
18:15 – 19:45
IIED and SCBD 

The Nagoya Protocol requires countries to support the development of community protocols for ABS by indigenous and local communities. This side-event launched a new IIED publication, Biodiversity and culture: Exploring community protocols, rights and consent, published in association with Natural Justice, Union for Ethical Biotrade, COMPAS and Kalpavriksh India. The publication reviews 14 cases of Biocultural Community Protocols (BCPs) and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

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Friday October 12, 2012

Linking Community and Landscape Resilience
10:30 – 13:00
UNDP, IPSI, Equator Initiative

This morning side event was co-organized by UNDP and the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI), and explored the theme of resilience in the context of community-based action for development and the environment. The event served as the fourth of the Community Palli’s thematic workshops, featuring presentations from Equator Prize winners working in Sri Lanka, Burkina Faso, and Indonesia, and helped to illuminate the satoyama concept of ‘socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes’ following the Third IPSI Global Conference.

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Local Communities and the CBD
13:15 – 14:45
SCBD, FAO, Equator Initiative

The Community Palli hosted a lunchtime side-event focused on the role of indigenous and local communities (ILCs) in CBD processes. Among other issues, the speakers described the evolution of the role of ILCs in the CBD, including funding dedicated to the participation of ILC representatives in regional workshops and CBD CoPs.

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Biocultural Heritage: From Concept to Practice. New policy instruments for times of uncertainty and change
16:30 – 18:00
IIED, Asociación ANDES (Peru) and Ecoserve India

This session presented lessons learned and policy tools for conserving biocultural heritage, based on studies conducted with eleven ethnic groups in countries around the world during the past five years. Krystyna Swiderska (IIED) introduced this program of work, which has comprised studies in China, India, Peru, Panama, and Kenya.

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Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS): Exploring Past Experiences And Future Opportunities For Indigenous Peoples And Local Communities Through New Synergies And Partnerships.
18:15 – 19:45
UNDP, GEF-SGP, GIZ, Natural Justice

The final session of the day – and of the first week of CoP – focused on the practical applications of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) at the local level. Following the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS at CBD CoP-10 in Japan, 2010, new opportunities are likely to emerge for communities to benefit from their roles as custodians of genetic resources and holders of traditional knowledge. To prepare and respond to these new opportunities (and challenges), a new partnership was recently established between the ABS Capacity Development Initiative (a multi-donor initiative implemented by GIZ), the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) implemented by UNDP, and the NGO Natural Justice, with each organization contributing their unique sets of expertise and networks.

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Monday October 15, 2012

Bio-Enterprises, Endogenous Development and Wellbeing
10:00 – 11:00
UNU-IAS

Suneetha Subramanian of the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) presented on the status of a study on community wellbeing. She outlined the initial idea of focusing on community-based groups and collectives that have established systems for revenue-sharing within rural constituencies to better understand the concepts of endogenous development and community wellbeing – this idea has been tested by some Equator Prize winners to date through participatory wellbeing assessments.

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Women and Youth Driving Sustainable Development – Examples from Marine and Coastal Ecosystems
11:00 – 13:00

Pressing challenges face coastal communities around the world, stemming from, among other pressures, over-exploitation of marine resources due to population growth, unsustainable fishing by commercial trawlers, and the effects of extreme weather events. In the face of these challenges, community-based initiatives are nonetheless aiding progress towards Aichi Target 6 (By 2020, all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem based approaches…) thanks to local innovations, adaptation, and changing harvesting practices through awareness raising.

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Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Local Communities on their Biodiversity Conservation, Promotion, and Sustainable Utilization
13:15 – 14:45
Society for Management of Biodiversity (SYMBIO)

The Society for Management of Biodiversity (SYMBIO) works to promote the objectives of the CBD with the mission of “sustaining life on earth” by integrating biodiversity conservation into community activities, government policies, and business strategies. Based on India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002), the organization has worked with local communities to form village-level Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs). During this lunchtime side-event, representatives of SYMBIO presented case studies on their work with local communities in India, including two successful examples of prototype ABS arrangements in the villages of Amarchintha, in Mahaboob Nagar, and Revalli, in Nalgonda, both in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.

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Group Discussion
15:00 – 16:00

During the afternoon session, the Community Palli participants came together to discuss a number of questions relating to their work going forward.

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Tuesday October 16, 2012

ICCA Registry: Updates and Next Steps
9:00 – 10:00
UNEP-WCMC

Colleen Corrigan of the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) presented on the status of the ICCA Registry, a tool created to document community work in conserving spatially defined areas and indigenous territories. The registry serves several purposes: it allows communities to register their indigenous and community conserved areas (ICCAs), including GIS and mapping data; to upload documents and videos sharing their work on biodiversity conservation, among other information; and, in some cases, to lend credibility to community efforts to have their conserved areas recognized by state authorities.

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Genetic Diversity and Access and Benefit Sharing: Local Contributions to Preserving Global Genetic Diversity
10:00 – 12:00

Local and indigenous communities have a critical role to play in safeguarding the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and of wild relatives. If these efforts are undertaken in a culturally-appropriate manner and are sufficiently supported by policy and legal frameworks, they can achieve win-win results for local wellbeing and global genetic diversity.

The first part of this equation relies heavily on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) arrangements, which can ensure that local communities are able to realize sufficient gains from the use of their traditional genetic resources and associated knowledge. The Nagoya Protocol represents one means of establishing a global regime for these ABS arrangements; this session will feature a presentation of a paper on the applicability of ABS in India, based on lessons learned from "community knowledge registers" in Orissa.

The second result – enhanced genetic diversity – will be amply demonstrated by case studies in conservation of bamboo, native rice and crop varieties, and tubers from Viet Nam, Orissa, Karnataka, and Sri Lanka. Presentations will focus on the key factors involved in developing broad movements for recovery and use of native varieties, including the communication, documenting, and monitoring tasks that underpin this. The cases will also illuminate the potential for combining modern scientific techniques and traditional approaches, and the important role of partnerships in these efforts.

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Launch of Two Publications on Lessons Learned
18:15 – 19:45

On Tuesday 16 October 2012, an evening reception was held in the Community Palli to mark the launch of two lessons learned publications – the Equator Initiative's The Power of Local Action: Lessons from 10 Years of the Equator Prize, and the GEF Small Grants Programme's 20 Years: Community Action for the Global Environment – as well as the Equator Initiative Case Study Database, which features detailed stories of leadership, innovation and resilience from the front lines of sustainable development.

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Wednesday October 17, 2012

Social Marketing
10:00 – 12:00
Rare Conservation

The final day of the Community Palli began with a workshop run by Rare Conservation, a long-term partner to the Equator Initiative and a leader in the field of communicating for results in conservation. The session was opened by Brett Jenks, President and CEO of Rare. He congratulated all those in the room on winning the Equator Prize, and emphasized the importance of their work on the frontlines of conservation efforts. He described Rare’s work in 57 countries with more than 3,000 communities to date, in which they have offered training and capacity building to local initiatives on how to communicate messages both to rural communities and to policy-makers.

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Update on the Final Negotiations at COP
17:00 – 17:30
IIFB

During the final afternoon of the Community Palli, following a dialogue with UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan, the participants heard from Lazarus Kairabeb, Chief Advisor to the Namibian Nama Traditional Leaders Association and a member of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB), on the status of COP negotiations as they entered the last two days, particularly regarding indigenous and local communities’ (ILC) issues.

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UClosing of the Community Palli
17:30 – 18:30

In summing up the hoped-for outcomes of the Community Palli, Alejandra Pero descried it as a different community dialogue to those organized previously by the Equator Initiative. Bringing together a variety of Equator Prize winners from different prize cycles during the past decade, the Community Palli had aimed to support the growth of these initiatives through shared learning and networking, and to ultimately allow the participants to scale up their organizations’ work and have a greater impact sustaining livelihoods and conserving biodiversity in their home communities.

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