Community Aldeia Day 6
Access and Benefit Sharing: A Brief Introduction
Jun 18th 2012
Suhel al-Janabi, GeoMedia
11:00 AM - 11:30 PM
The day opened with a brief presentation on the issue of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and how it relates to local communities and their conservation of genetic diversity. Suhel al-Janabi of GeoMedia described the evolution of negotiations on ABS since the creation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the first Rio Earth Summit, up until the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol in 2010. His presentation was followed by a short animated video on the subject that helped to set the scene for the panel presentations on the cultivation of medicinal plants, viewable here. In addition, click the picture to the right to view the presentation.
Medicinal Plants: Biodiversity Conservation and Income Generation
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Week two of the Community Aldeia opened with a panel presentation entitled 'Medicinal Plants: Biodiversity Conservation and Income Generation', moderated by Suhel al-Janabi of GIZ who opened by introducing the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol in Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). The Protocol provides an economic incentive for the conservation of biodiversity by requiring technology-rich countries to share the benefits of genetic research with supplying countries. A short film on the development of the Protocol was followed by presentations from three Equator Prize winners, from China, Egypt and Brazil, all of which promote sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants.
Wu Jiawei, Project Manager of the Kangmei Institute of Comunity Development and Marketing began with a presentation of his initiative's work. The Institute is active in the Upper Yangtze ecoregion, which is home to more than 80 per cent of giant pandas. The area is also home to more than 25 endangered, traditional Chinese medicinal (TCM) plants. More than 45 species are still extensively used as traditional medicinal plants. The TCM market is exists both at local level and international level (facilitated by a new large and modern market in Shanghai) and offers very little traceability or regulation. Kangmei Institute carries out monitoring in Daping Village, where ten TCM plants are harvested. The Institute set up a community-based team, provided a series of trainings, created a resource management plan in Daping and helped establish TCM harvesting regulations. Following this work, the community entered into an official agreement with 'Traditional Medicinals', a major tea and health products company from California. Kangmei Institute also worked with WWF to establish the 'Panda-Friendly Standard', which ensures that only sustainable harvest methods are used. Click the picture to the left to view this presentation.
Next, the work of Egyptian winner, Medicinal Plants Association, St. Catherine was presented by Khalil Soliman Hemed, Farhana Saleh Ouda and Gamil Attia Hossein. This organisation works in the Bedouin community of St. Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula, providing environmental education and promoting the preservation of local medicinal plants. The initiative's projects include training in beekeeping and handicrafts, establishing medicinal plant gardens, and replanting medicinal plants in the wild. The group also promotes value-adding activities and the marketing of local medicinal plants. The Association administers a revolving fund program that provide soft loans to Bedouin women for use in purchasing improved cooking stoves and developing alternative livelihood activities. Loan repayment to date has been 98 per cent. Additionally, the Association is now working to promote ecotourism as a way to improve local household incomes and further incentivise the conservation of local environment. Click the picture to the right to view this presentation.
Finally, Lourdes Cardozo Laureano of Pacari Network introduced the Brazilian initiative's work. The Network brings together Cerrado community pharmacies to share traditional knowledge on the use of local medicinal plants. The group has faced challenges including a lack of supportive legislation, so Pacari organises capacity-building courses for members to assist them in negotiating this obstacle. A major achievement of the initiative has been demonstrating that their medicinal products are safe. The group has developed a self-regulation system for traditional medicine which includes obliging the organic planting and harvesting of medicinal plants, and the certification by a local elder to act as experts in the proper use and harvesting of local plants. This involves moderating the amount harvested and ensuring plants and animal health are protected. Click the picture to the left to view this presentation.
Questions followed the presentations, covering topics including biopiracy, intellectual property rights, the need for greater dialogue with government bodies, and the need to reach urban areas in order to maximise the benefits of medicinal plants. Following up on several of the comments and questions that were posed, participants were emphatically encouraged to stand up for their rights and power, especially at the local level, to practice traditional medicine. Equator prize winners were encouraged to continue to build their network of traditional medicine organizations, to learn from and support each other.
Wildlife Conservation in Fiji, Colombia, and Kenya
Moderated by Randy Curtis, The Nature Conservancy
2:00PM – 3:00 PM
Silio Lalaqila from Sisi Initiative Site Support Group presented the work of six villages that manage and conserve natural resources around the Natewa Tunuloa peninsuala, an Important Bird Area in Fiji. Since 2005, the group has worked to respond to destructive logging practices which have depleted bird habitats and endangered downstream marine ecosystems with muddy runoff. Diminishing numbers of the totem bird, the Silktail, due to habitat destruction catalyzed a partnership with BirdLife International. Sisi Initiative has established a 600-hectare community protected forest and trained indigenous landowners in alternative livelihood options. Beekeeping, sustainable agriculture, handicrafts and jewelry-making, bakery and pastry-making, and poultry-raising provide people with a way to make a living without resorting to logging and unsustainable agricultural practices. Efforts to reforest native trees in degraded areas are underway, and there are plans to establish an ecotourism initiative. In Fijian society, traditional hierarchy dictates that clans (not the government) own and control land. Mr. Lalaqila noted that it has been important to link the two sides in effective partnership so that "we can not only improve the biodiversity but also the wellbeing of the people who rely on the forest." Click the picture to the right to view this presentation.
Ana Isabel Arroyo from Colombian group United Women Artisans' Association of Los Límites (Asociación de Artesanas Unidas de Los Límites – ASOARTESANAS) presented her organization's work protecting endangered cotton-top tamarin monkeys, reducing pollution, and providing livelihoods to women. The tamarin species (commonly known as the "Titi monkey") is threatened from deforestation of their habitat, hunting, and people who illegally capture them to sell as pets. The women of ASOARTESANAS produce stuffed animal toys of the tamarin, selling them to raise additional income while raising awareness about the species' endangerment. They also work to transform discarded plastic bags into handbags and educate community members to recycle, which has removed millions of plastic bags from streams and forests. Finally, ASOARTESANAS conducts outreach to community members, training them to use clay stoves and biomass pellets instead of firewood. Click the picture to the left to view this presentation.
Speaking on behalf of Kenya's Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT), Samson Parashina shared his community's experience of preserving wilderness and wildlife by answering people's needs with community benefits. MWCT protects 280,000 acres in the critical Tsavo-Amboseli ecosystem, which contains important forest, water sources that provide 7 million people with water, and serves as a migratory corridor. The Trust has undertaken a number of activities to reduce human-wildlife conflict and poaching, improve land management practices, and prevent problematic resource extraction. MWCT has a partnership with a tour operator and charges a $100 conservation surcharge to visiting tourists. These
benefits are shared through dividend payments, compensate community members for losses of livestock from predators, and provide for services to the community. Income has enabled MWCT to hire a doctor and staff four clinics with nurses, serving a population of about 15,000 and also staff 20 area schools with 70 teachers, serving 6,000 students. MWCT has become a major employer with 300 community members on staff, many serving as wildlife monitors and rangers, providing security and arresting would-be poachers. A management structure now manages a rotating grazing system in order to prevent degradation from overgrazing. Mr. Parashina encouraged colleagues from around the world; "The community are ambassadors of their own resources. They need to be leaders...If you have a tree next to your house, or if you have a lion next to your house, that is your resources. We are responsible for our own resources. You can be responsible for the coastal reef, and I can be responsible for the lion. It's the same concept depending on where you are coming from." Click the picture to the right to view this presentation.
A few quotes during Q&A period:
"By excluding people from National Parks, by evicting them from protected areas, we are losing a lot of information from the people who really knew about the wildlife and the large number of species of plants- what to use, how to use, how to conserve. Perhaps the time has come to involve communities in the management of all protected areas across the world, because otherwise the departments of forests are not able to do the work. We are not able to leave this in their hands." - SHASHWAT, Anand Kapoor
"We are very proud of everything we have done so far. We feel so proud because we are the ones who are preserving and conserving nature and protecting these monkeys." - Ana, Colombia
Capacity building for CBD engagement
Viviana Figueroa (CBD Secretariat)
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
The day concluded with a presentation on local and indigenous engagement with the Convention on Biological Diversity, an area in which many Equator Prize winners have gone on to play leading roles. The participants heard about the relevant aspects of the convention and how to play a role in national and regional level biodiversity planning exercises. View the three presentations below: