Community Aldeia Day 2
ICCA Panel Discussion
Jun 14th 2012
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories – better known by the acronym ICCAs – refer to a wide range of locally-conserved areas. An estimated 12% of the Earth’s terrestrial area is incorporated within ICCAs, yet in the vast majority of cases they remain unrecognized, with competing or discriminatory tenure claims undermining the rights of rural communities to sustainably manage their traditional lands. Equator Prize winners represent different models of local ownership and conservation with varying degrees of autonomy. What each group demonstrates is that locally-driven conservation delivers benefits for people and nature that are more effective, more equitable, and more sustainable.
Anwar Kamal, vice-president of the Chunoti Co-Management Committee presented on his group’s work as partners in conservation of a previously-degraded wildlife sanctuary in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The Chunoti Wildlife Sanctuary has been successfully rehabilitated thanks to extensive awareness-raising activities with local stakeholders on the importance of conservation. The initiative has proved a landmark case in Bangladesh as the first ever example of a co-managed protected area, and has been replicated in other areas of the country. One of the group’s innovations is the use of women-led patrols; Reema Islam, the group’s outreach associate spoke passionately about the linkages between climate change, worsening droughts, and domestic violence. Click picture to the right to view this presentation.
Tetepare Descendants’ Association represents the legal owners of Tetepare Island (Solomon Islands) the largest uninhabited island in the tropical Pacific and one of the last remaining unlogged tropical islands in the world. While this group’s conserved area has not yet been officially recognized, the association brings together 3,500 registered members to conserve a 120-km2 protected area comprising the island’s unique forest and marine biodiversity. Allan Tipet Bero, the association’s program coordinator, described how by establishing income-generating activities for its members the group has been able to reduce pressures on the island’s natural resources. While acknowledging the challenges posed – financial sustainability, lack of legal enforcement support, and the reliance on logging by local communities – Mr. Tipet Bero stressed that the association’s governance structure and autonomy from its donors has enabled its success over the past ten years, and stands it in good stead to endure into the future. Click picture to the left to view this presentation.
West of the Solomon Islands lies Bali, Indonesia. Thomas Goreau and I Gusti Bagus Antara presented on the work of Pemuteran Bay Coral Protection Foundation, an innovative project that arose in response to the collapse of the local fishing industry in the coastal community of Pemuteran. Sedimentation, rising water temperatures, and unsustainable fishing methods had resulted in the loss of biodiversity and depleted reef fish stocks. Mr. Goreau and Mr. Antara described their organization’s response to these threats – “Reef Gardening” – that harnesses solar, wind, and (soon) wave power to electrify artificial reefs. This stimulates the growth of coral along more than half a kilometre-long reef. Hundreds of community members have been trained in this practice, which is partly driven by ecotourism revenues from scuba divers. The community has created a de facto locally-managed marine protected area, with community enforcement of regulations that prohibit destructive fishing practices. Click picture to the right to view this presentation.
Next to speak was Victor Samuel Rahaovalahy, Guides President with the Association Anja Miray (Madagascar.) He spoke about his community’s efforts to sustainably manage a 30-hectare community forest reserve in the Haute Matsiatra region of the country. By establishing an ecotourism initiative, the group has funded community works projects such as schools and health clinics, environmental education campaigns, and ongoing conservation activities. The group has worked with the government to gain formal recognition of their lands, but the impetus for its conservation came wholly from within the community itself. Click the picture to the left to view this presentation.
The session concluded with a presentation from Salatou Sambou, president of the Association of Rural Fishing Villages of Mangagoulack, which works in Casamance on the coast of Senegal. This initiative consists of eight fishing villages of the local Djola people who came together in the 1980s to combat declining fish catches. Their response was to demarcate a 15,000-hectare Aire du patrimoine communautaire (APC), or community conserved area, which has been sustainably managed through a system of usage zones and regulations that respect local culture and benefit populations of key marine species. As a result, catches have improved by up to four times in some cases, helping to reduce out-migration from the villages to urban areas. The area is known as “Kawawana” from the Djola expression Kapooye Wafolal Wata Nanang (“Our patrimony, for us all to preserve”.) In 2009, this ICCA was formally recognized by the government in a landmark case for community conservation in Senegal. Click the picture to the right to the view this presentation.
The work of these diverse groups provides evidence for the efficacy and relevance of community-led conservation efforts, rooting the transformation of rural landscapes in local capacities. The demarcation of ICCAs has proved an important first step for these groups in communicating the need for conservation to local stakeholders, resolving land use conflicts, and defending territory from outside pressures.
Links for the presentations:
Working Group Discussions
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
The community representatives reflected on their experiences with their respective conserved areas in language groups, before presenting back in plenary, contributing to an elaboration of the role ICCAs play in underpinning local action.
The ICCA Consortium
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
The role of local actors in conserving important terrestrial and marine ecosystems has been supported at the international level by an array of organizations, brought together by the ICCA Consortium. Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, the consortium’s global coordinator, presented on the role of ICCAs in protecting the world’s ‘bio-cultural diversity jewels’. The presentation emphasized the crucial link between communities and their local environment or territory, and stressed the importance of local land users being able to make decisions that lead to the preservation of nature. ICCAs take a wide variety of forms, and span a range of sizes from the very small to the very large. Some are the paths of nomadic people and their herds, while others are sacred spaces. They perform the dual function of conserving nature and securing livelihoods by sustaining communities during times of stress.
Despite their importance, however, ICCAs are under intense threat from development, war, expropriation, climate change and acculturation. In response to these threats, the ICCA Consortium brings together organizations whose goal is to promote ICCAs.
A question and answer session followed the presentation and touched on a range of points including the value of ICCAs remaining at their historical size, legalities and laws regarding such areas, and the changing roles of ICCAs. The question of population growth in such areas was addressed, with the suggestion that their carrying capacities need to be determined. Click the picture to the right to view this presentation.
The ICCA Registry
4:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Colleen Corrigan (UNEP-WCMC) presented on the work of the ICCA Registry, beginning with an introduction to her own home territory of Minnesota. Supporting the efforts of local practitioners and the ICCA Consortium, the registry seeks to comprehensively document ICCAs across the world. Ms. Corrigan emphasized the role of ICCAs in supplementing the coverage provided by state protected areas, filling the gaps in conserving our natural heritage that are best identified by those who rely on them most. The registry uses an interview approach to document local perceptions of the use of community areas, noting boundaries, years of occupation, and traditional land use. Registration of areas requires formal consent from communities, which has been both an important tenet of the initiative’s approach and a barrier to the rapid registration of communities. While registering as an ICCA does not in itself convey any legal permanence, the recognition of having met criteria for an international protected area category can be leveraged to support community claims to territory. Click the picture to the left to view this presentation.
Sean Southey from PCI Media Impact led the closing session of the day, which introduced the groups to participatory video storytelling and the power of videos and images to convey the critically important messages that communities want to share with the rest of the world. The group collectively reflected on those stories and films that have most deeply touched them, thinking of the key elements that made those films so powerful, in order to create the most impactful videos themselves in the future. Participants agreed that strong videos are usually short. It's better to publish videos that run for three to four minutes, rather than 15 to 20 minutes. It's hard to keep people interested for too long, even if the footage is excellent.
Community representatives pointed out that good videos tell a story that grasps the viewer's attention. This can be achieved in many ways, for example showing conflicts between "good" and "bad", or depicting changes in communities taking place over time as in videos depicting situations before and after certain events, projects or initiatives. All these videos share a thoughtful consideration of the target audience's interests, aspirations, needs, and expectations. Communities therefore must think about with whom they are communicating with to find out what they want to show and say and why.
Sally Timpson and Whitney Wilding then joined Sean to present each community a compact video camera that will be used to create short and impactful movies. These will be shared on the communities' and Equator Initiative websites, YouTube channels and Facebook pages. Training started right away, with the participants excited to begin recording their experiences at Rio+20. Click the picture to the right to view this presentation.