Dialogues: Paris, France - 2015

Dialogues: Paris, France - 2015: Day 6

Events at Rio Pavilion at COP21

Thursday 3 December 2015
11:00 - 18:45

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Charles McNeill, Senior Advisor, Forests and Climate, UNDP. Photo Credit: IISD/ENB+

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Sopheak Phon and Sopheap Hoeun, Prey Land Community Network, Cambodia. Photo Credit: IISD/ENB+

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Participants filled the Rio Convention Pavilion to hear Equator Prize 2015 winners speak. Photo Credit: IISD/ENB+









The day began with a panel led by Charles McNeill, Senior Advisor, Forests and Climate, of UNDP. Panelists, including Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and government representatives, discussed their experiences participating in national dialogues on climate change. The speakers emphasized the need for the advancement of collaboration between Indigenous Peoples and governments.

Verania Chao of the UNDP Gender Team emphasized that gender equality is catalytic for development during the Gender-Smart Climate Policy panel. Nicolas Cartagena, representing Equator Prize 2015 winner Consejo Indígena del Pueblo Tacana of Bolivia, spoke about their project, emphasizing the role of women in all aspects of their initiatives. Mahamat Ahmat Abbas, of the Equator Prize 2014-winning organization Association Tchadienne des Volontaires pour la Protection de l’Environnement (ATVPE) from Chad, also joined the panel to discuss ATVPE’s work towards land and resource rights for women.

During the third session of the day, Community Innovation in the Face of Conflict, Equator Prize winners spoke on how various forms of conflict have affected their work. Deborah Sanchez and Norvin Goff of Honduras spoke about their work as a part of Muskitia Asla Takanka (MASTA). Although the group has managed to preserve 1.2 million hectares of their land, they still face daily threats from outside forces. Gemechu Berhanu from Ethiopia, representing Oromia Pastoralist Association, explained how their association works with conflict resolution and collaboration across borders. Sopheap Hoeun and Sopheak Phon shared their experience with using peacebuilding and community mobilization to confront illegal logging threats with Prey Land Community Network in Cambodia. Hernando Chindoy and Maria Encarnación Janamejoy from Colombia described their community Pueblo Inga en Aponte, and their struggle to secure land rights and sustainable livelihoods in the face of drug trafficking and pressure from mining corporations. Farkhunda Siddiqi from Afghanistan spoke about the obstacles Rural Green Environment Organization faces working in a war zone. Siddiqi emphasized a common theme that emerged during the panel, stating: “We know the problems, we know the solutions, so we will keep fighting forward. It’s a piece of cake!”

Jamison Ervin of UNDP moderated the panel on Local Action on Resilience and began with an overview of the seven principles of social-ecological resilience, as defined by the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Panelists included past and present Equator Prize winners. Fatima Ahmed from Zenab for Women in Development in Sudan described working with a network of more than 5,000 women farmers and discussed some of their resiliency strategies such as promoting drought resistant seeds and building local capacity. Manizheh Hajighasemi and Sirous Entekhabihassanlouei explained how Umbrella Group of Naghadeh NGOs led a campaign to restore desiccated wetlands by dredging canals and cleaning trenches and simultaneously led trainings and workshops that encouraged local farmers to adopt drought-resistant crops. This complementary approach has promoted systemic resilience. Rakotondramanga Rafanomezantsoa and Victoria Rakotondrasoa of Union Soamitabatra emphasized strength through unity as their key to resilience. Their work in Madagascar was catalyzed by many neighboring communities coming together to jointly manage natural resources. Modesto Ochoa and Leana Corea, representing Comité para la Defensa y Desarrollo de la Flora y Fauna del Golfo de Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF) from Honduras described their organization's innovative methods of mangrove reforestation and installation of artificial reefs to protect and restore the habitat. The work of CODDEFFAGOLF has demonstrated the importance of working simultaneously towards community and environmental resilience in coastal areas.

The session on “Contribution of Protected Areas to Climate Mitigation and Adaptation” was moderated by Terence Hay-Edie of the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme. Pagi Toko of Papua New Guinea told the story of Wanang Conservation Area, where ten clan leaders came together to protect 10,000 hectares of forest. Tanzanians Revocatus Njau and Rahima Njaidirepresented their organization MJUMITA, which manages 1,800,000 hectares of forest by working amongst diverse villages and districts. Nicholas Fredericks of Guyana spoke about the threats to the Wapichan territory and their mission of “sticking together for those coming behind us.” Representing Kelompok Peduli Lingkungan Belitung, Budi Setiawan from Indonesia told of the organization’s work to protect both land and sea areas.

The final session of the day was introduced by Charles McNeill. Three Equator Prize winners shared their experiences: Mugabe Gregory from Uganda, representing the Kayonza Growers Tea Factory Ltd., which utilizes more than 500 hectares of land adjacent to an important conservation area; Yu Xiaogang and Sun Min representing Green Watershed in China, which promotes sustainable development and Indigenous Peoples’ resource rights; and Maria Leusa Munduruku of Movimento Ipereg Ayu in Brazil, who called on all present to join the fight of her people in protecting forests and lands threatened by private companies.

The day concluded with a reception honoring the 21 Equator Prize winners.



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