Day 5 - October 8
The first session of the day was entitled “Community-Based Approaches to Climate Change in Wetland Ecosystems” and was presented by Wetlands International. The session began with some remarks concerning the role communities can play in climate change adaptation and their role in ensuring this is done sustainably. Following a video presentation, Wetlands International provided a PowerPoint presentation concerning climate change and specific examples of adaptation (bio-rights for communities, floodplain restoration, re-connection of flood plains to rivers, small-scale agriculture, and income diversification).
Following the Wetlands International presentation, Equator Prize winning communities presented. The Regional Federation of Groups for the Promotion of Women (FRGPF) from Senegal spoke of their mangrove restoration and replanting initiatives. The groups have learned to harvest oysters without destroying local mangroves, a process that has also raised the income of local women. The group also creates micro-gardens, sells jam and other products made from locally grown fruits and vegetables, creates pottery from mangrove clay, and makes soap. The mangroves, which were abandoned for 15 years, have been successfully replanted and restored for oyster harvesting.
Next to present was the Association of Residents for the Progress and Development of Campo Amor, Zarumilla (ASPOPRODECAZ) from Peru. The presentation focused on their work to reverse the degradation to their local mangrove swamps through replanting and innovative waste-management programs. The organization targets students and children to teach them about sustainability of the eco-system and involve them in efforts to
replant and protect the mangroves. Women have become a key part of the organization’s success after specifically aiming to increase their participation. Through the purchase of motorcycles, they have successfully implemented rubbish collection at the local level with the small fee being reinvested into the organization.
The next session was on biodiversity and business. The first presentation was by Beekeeper Association of the Tariquia Reserve (AART) of Bolivia. They began with a video that described the group’s efforts to stem illegal deforestation. Honey was identified as a sustainable product and has resulted in a positive change in community incomes. AART is now comprised of 120 partners, with 50% of these being women. They produce 7,000 kg of honey per year and plan to increase production to 14,000 kg in the future.
The second community organization to present was Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) from Zambia. COMACO promotes income generation, biodiversity conservation, and food security in Zambia’s Luangwa
Valley. The organization links more than 35,000 rural households with, among other things: lucrative and sustainable livelihood options; methods for improving agricultural outputs; and, access to markets. Most notably, COMACO has facilitated the sale of eco-friendly food products with the “Its Wild” product line. Another key success for COMACO has been getting farmers to exchange guns, snares, and other tools used in poaching for the tools and training necessary for sustainable agriculture. Participating families have seen a 15% increase in food security and a doubling of incomes, while the area has experienced a corresponding resurgence in lion and elephant populations. They have trained over 40,000 adults in sustainable farming practices with over 30% of the group’s members former elephant poachers.
The facilitation team noted that the size of COMACO’s membership is inspiring to any grassroots community organization and asked the audience to think about ways to link products to the market, market products, and strategize good business practices for the upcoming panel discussion.
The third presentation was by Tashka Yawanawa, a representative from Agro-extractive Cooperative Yawanawa (COOPYAWA) in Brazil. Established in 2003, COOPYAWA is a representative body of the Yawanawa indigenous people of Acre State. The group endeavors to create income-generation opportunities for its members through the conservation and promotion of the Yawanawa people and one of their native agricultural products: urucum. When the national government stopped purchasing rubber from the Yawanawa in 1992 the tribe turned to urucum, a local plant extract used in cosmetics. In 2003, the group signed an agreement with Aveda Corporation to market urucum based cosmetics using the Yawanawa name and equitably share profits. COOPYAWA distributes benefits across the Yawanawa tribes and, through an international advocacy campaign, successfully lobbied to have their tribal territory increased from 92,000 to 187,000 hectares. Their tribe is comprised of 600 people who inhabit this ancestral land. The profits generated through the sustainable production and sale of urucum are reinvested into the community to provide medical care especially for cases of malaria and schooling in the Yawanawa language among other things.
Tmatboey Community Protected Area Committee from Cambodia presented next. The community’s mantra is to work locally and think globally. Their work focuses on the protection of two of the world’s rarest birds. The community’s activities include land mapping, ecotourism and the protection of wildlife through a bird nest scheme, patrolling, awareness, and agreements to not hunt important wildlife. A main problem is that people need land for agriculture, but live very close to the expanding paddy fields. What has become most crucial is to implement a land use plan creating boundaries between community and wildlife uses. They also promote eco-tourism to prevent the hunting of animals. The income drawn from tourism is invested back into the village. Successes include earning $11,000 USD from tourism, increased employment, and increases the giant ibis population.
Last to present in this session was a representative from the Chalalan Ecolodge in Bolivia. The community is over 400 years old and sits within a national park. It is rich in biodiversity with thousands of species of mammals and amphibians. Before moving towards ecotourism, the community used surrounding resources for subsistence. Hunter-gatherer culture was mixed with agriculture and community services were very limited with no education or medical support. In 1992, ecotourism became the new economic strategy. Since then, indigenous people have been participating in the management of the project. Locals have been trained in ecotourism services. The Chalalan Ecolodge is 100% community owned and all benefits and profits go back to the community. Benefits for the community include strengthened capacity and a higher level of education.
The biggest achievement has been the acquisition of 200,000 hectares of land under their own management – a development that has provided indigenous communities with a greater sense of pride as they prove to be capable of alleviating poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
The next session was entitled, “Beyond Texts, Messages from Madagascar: Creativity, Learning and Exchanges Revealed Using Audio-Visual Tools”. The result of a collaboration between four artists, one storyteller and three musicians, the session was a show that mixed musical numbers, video interviews with global leaders, and participatory video and radio from the four corners of the island.
The following session was entitled “Local and Indigenous Peoples and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)” and was presented by Conservation International and the UNDP Equator Initiative. The session provided an opportunity to hear indigenous perspectives on climate change and how they may differ from a Western point of view. UNDP’s Charles McNeill began the session by mentioning the importance of ensuring that indigenous people benefit from REDD in order for the programme to be a success. Various representatives spoke from the Government of Ecuador, the Government of Guyana, the Government of Papua New Guinea, the Government of Brazil, the Brazilian Indigenous Federation, and the Carbon Finance Department at the World Bank. Issues raised included: indigenous land tenure; the need for market-based and economically viable alternatives for forest preservation to succeed; the importance of dialogue between indigenous communities and participating governments; the centrality of empowering indigenous governance systems; a lack of trust (by indigenous groups) of government agencies; the lack of consultations to date; the need for local level input in language that everyone understands;
After the panelists fielded questions from the audience, Charles McNeill reminded the audience that
all involved wish to avoid “rewarding the destroyers and ignoring the protectors”. He thanked all the speakers for their participation and for sharing their perspectives on REDD with the session.
The next session focused on peer-to-peer knowledge exchange on community-based approaches to the conservation of agricultural biodiversity. The first community presentation was by Achala Adhikari from the Community Development Centre of Sri Lanka. The group has focused on the reintroduction of traditional yams to raise community incomes and to find solutions to food security issues. Knowledge on yam harvesting was sought from elders. The cultivation is environmentally friendly and all pesticides used are natural. The group currently has 59 different varieties of yams growing on over 200 plots.
The following presentation was by David Kuria from Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) in Kenya. The group works to conserve this biologically rich region, support the community, and facilitate community knowledge sharing. Illegal logging has been a consistent problem for them. The group engages in environmental education, awareness campaigns, networking, research and surveys, and forest rehabilitation. Some consistent challenges have been demand for timber from neighboring communities, a lack of resources and expert knowledge, and their dependence on volunteerism.
The next presentation was made by Francisco Samonek of Polo de Proteção da Biodiversidade e Uso Sustentável dos Recursos Naturais (Poloprobio) from the Acre State of Brazil. Their main activities centre around the sustainable production of rubber. The organization combined indigenous knowledge and new technologies in order to create an income from the sustainable production of rubber. They have a different technique for rubber production used in paints, fabrics, t-shirts, and purses.
The following presentation was from the Artisans Association of Arbolsol and Huaca de Barro of the Morrope District from Peru. Founded by local women in 2003, the group works to recover traditional methods of cotton production that are environmentally responsible and to create positive socio-economic change in the region. The association oversees the planting and harvesting of native cotton varieties using only pesticides from natural sources. In addition to cotton production, the association has been active in managing water resources. Traditional colours of native cotton have been recovered, water resources have been cleaned as a result of better management, and organic cotton is produced for local markets. The group, which began as a women’s organization, has now expanded to include the whole community.
The final presentation of this session came from the Association of Indigenous Producers and Farmers of Riosucio, Caldas (ASPROINCA). Based in the northern Caldas region of Colombia, ASPROINCA is a community-based organization that works with close to 400 indigenous farming families to diversify their agricultural production in an environmentally responsible manner. A key objective of the association is breaking local dependence on coffee production. The association has been successful at working with local farmers to: increase food security; institute sustainable agricultural practices; integrate composting; and recuperate native varieties of beans, maize, panelera cane, and fodder plants. An innovation of the association has been training farmers to harness biogas, thereby relieving pressure on surrounding forests for firewood.
The next session, facilitated by the Global Forest Coalition, was entitled “Life as Commerce? Market-Based Conservation Mechanisms, Community Governance, and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights”.
The final session of the day was hosted by the Global Diversity Foundation and was entitled, “Participatory Video: A Tool for Promoting Biocultural Diversity and Community Conservation”. The session covered how greater exposure and training in participatory video (PV) can play an integral role in bringing ethnoecology methods, traditional knowledge, and community led conservation practices to the forefront of world conservation policy.