WPC Dialogues: Sydney, Australia 2014
WPC Dialogues: Sydney, Australia 2014: Day 2
Gathering in the Gully: Pre-World Parks Congress Workshop in the Blue Mountains
Tuesday 11 November 2014
Managers of Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCA) from all over the world came together to share experiences in the “Gathering in the Gully” held in the Blue Mountains close to Sydney from Sunday the 9th to Tuesday the 11th of November 2014. The WIN was a partner to this gathering organized by the ICCA Consortium and other organizations. Community representatives shared experiences and mapped strategies to make their voices heard at the World Parks Congress starting right after immediately after the gathering. The meeting also served as the General Assembly of the ICCA Consortium, a reflection of the successes of past years and discussions to determine the future.
Ashish Kothari, a member of the ICCA Consortium Steering Committee and founder of Kalpavriksh based in India, commenced the session by calling up regional representatives to briefly point out recent achievements and challenges within their ICCAs.
Community members from Africa presented a mixed picture of the status of ICCAs in their countries. John Kenena Kasaona from Namibia reported that over 42% of his country is recognized as conserved area. Salatou Sambou, Technical Advisor of the Fishermen Association of the Rural Municipality of Mangagoulack (APCRM) based in Senegal (Equator Prize 2012), promotes participatory radio dialogue directed for fishing communities. Million Belay from Ethiopia, coordinator for the Alliance for Food Sovereignty, discussed sacred sites stating that “African land is currently under assault. We will not have any sacred sites left if they are all converted into agricultural lands”.
Anas Radin Syarif from the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) of Indonesia, reported that 70% of forest land is still largely owned by the government. The organization mobilizes forest communities to protect their culture and dignity. There has been progress with new legislation declaring that “indigenous forest is no longer state forest”. It is now necessary to map and document 14 million hectares of indigenous territory.
ICCAs in the Americas are currently under pressure specfically from extractive industries. Canada, Bolivia and Guatemala are just a few of many examples. Philippe Gomez from Guatemala mentioned that the ICCA movement is “important for our self-determination”. Joe Martin from the Tla-O-Qui-Aht Tribal Parks in Canada spoke about a recent court case that recognized indigenous communities. This was a breakthrough for the First Nations of Canada whose lands have been under threat from oil and mining companies.
Representatives of the Kimberley Land Council in Northwestern Australia reported on techniques for defending land title rights. The council focuses on promoting cultural values to strengthen conservation initiatives and develop industries to create social and economic benefits. They closed the session by warmly welcoming all attendees to their country.