Day 6 - October 9
The first session of the day was hosted by the Global Green Grants Fund and was entitled, “How to Build Support for Grassroots Environment Stewardship”. The session began with a discussion of how resources are available to local communities but there are barriers to access or a lack of awareness about their existence. Examples were offered about how communities can be supported with capacity building. The issue of helping communities develop ecotourism was. One participant pointed out the disconnect between rural and urban populations. The issue of trust was raised with respect to donors of small grants. The session ended with the assertion that communities must understand the multiple benefits from conservation in order to be successfully enlisted in project development and support.
The second session of the day was hosted by DIPROEN and IUCN and was entitled, “Indigenous Peoples and Community-Conserved Areas”. The session was conducted in Spanish by Dirección de Pueblos Originarios y Recursos Natura.
The following session was a launch of the International Institute for Environmental Development (IIED) report “Policy that Works for Biodiversity and People”. The report looks at biodiversity governance at local, national and international levels while focusing on policy and institutional support for community based organizations. During the session, policies that work to protect biodiversity while enhancing peoples’ livelihoods were discussed and case studies from India and Tanzania were presented. During the question and discussion period, a concern was raised that the research was based too much on conserved areas and not enough on community initiatives to conserve natural resources.
The session concluded with the five main recommendations of the report being reviewed:
1. Achieve a better understanding of what better governance looks like. Part of this includes helping farmers, pastoralists, and other local groups understand how to share their knowledge and voice their opinion to governance structures in order to achieve policy changes beneficial to them.
2. Improve decision making processes. Enhancing pluralism and democracy—including marginalized groups, women, indigenous, poor.
3. Recognize indigenous people as rights holders, not only stakeholders.
4. Recognize and enforce local rights by helping to create and strengthen local organizations.
5. Strengthen governments at the local level.
Following the session, a representative of the Ujamaa Community Resource Trust (UCRT) in Tanzania made a presentation on their work. UCRT works with marginalized groups and pastoralists in Northern Tanzania to create land management plans, manage natural resource systems, and explore sustainable income-generation opportunities. A central component of UCRT’s work is mobilizing communities to lobby local and national governments for community land rights and resource entitlements. UCRT has helped over 20 villages in northern Tanzania – including the biodiversity-rich areas of the Serengeti and Tarangire – secure land and resource tenure, enhance economic benefits of their ecosystems (mainly through ecotourism), and establish community conserved areas based on indigenous management practices. Women take a lead role the farming and harvesting, including all the general responsibilities of preservation.
The following session was hosted by CEESP and was entitled “Conservation, HR and Human Well-Being”. A representative from a community-based organization in Costa Rica spoke about indigenous communities beginning to seek recognition of rights through a rights based approach (RBA) to development and active campaigns for the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights. Recently, new protected area legislation has been developed with indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ full and effective participation, which recognizes rights and requires their implementation.
Also mentioned was that, when taking a rights-based approach, one needs to look at variation within groups and that rights can be used as a tool for mapping and understanding populations.
The final session of the day was the Community Poble closing event. The session involved community members, Equator Initiative staff, and the facilitation tea. The goal was an evaluation of the week’s sessions from the community perspective, a discussion of high points and low points, and a general recap of events.
The following issues were discussed:
• Inspiring presentations
• Meeting and networking with other communities
• Leaving Barcelona with “new hope, new ideas, and new friends”
• The opening ceremony and Mohammed Yunus’ speech
• Meeting a diverse group of people
• The patience and understanding of community members and the Equator Initiative team
• The commitment of the translators
• Accumulated political capital that can be taken home and used in discussions with national governments
• Having the opportunity to present and share ideas with a group of people working in the same field
Things to Improve
• The food at the conference center
• Too little connection with other conference events/sessions
• Need to have one-on-one meeting with funders and potential donors present at the conference
• Having to leave Barcelona
• Not enough time to meet with each other – over-programmed
• The lack of translation at some side events and other sessions
• Lack of access to and coverage by media
• Lack of dialogue on chemicals and pesticides
Once the highs and lows were completed, the session moved on to address a discussion that had been spearheaded by the communities themselves about wishing to create an organizational body that would carry on collaborative work after the Community Poble was finished. The group decided to appoint leaders in each of the regions, to have focal points for further work. The nominations were as follows:
French Africa: Sadio Thioune
English Africa: David Kuria
Latin America: Ruminhaui Anrango
Pacific Islands: Patterson Shed
Asia: Ravi Corea
The group has further plans to create a list-serve where their information and communication can be based. There was also discussion about each Equator Prize 2008 winner investing a portion of their winnings into a shared trust account that could be used for common projects.
Charles McNeill addressed the group and thanked them for sharing their accomplishments and themselves at the Community Poble over the course of the week. He thanked them for inspiring others at the award dinner and said he looks forward to seeing what the groups are able to achieve for their communities in the future.