Day 2 - May 19
The Community Dorf opened today at the Ninth Conference of Parties (COP9) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Eileen de Ravin, Manager of the Equator Initiative, welcomed the participants and introduced the facilitation team.
The first speaker of the day was Mr. David Cooper from Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat. Mr. Cooper gave an introduction to the CBD process and a brief background and overview. He emphasized that community presence at COP9 and beyond was pivotal to advancing the CBD agenda. Community participants commented that it was crucial for local opinions to be integrated early into the CBD process, and that this is not happening currently in a systematic or sufficient way.
Following questions and comments, it was established that over 27 countries are represented in the dialogue space. Benson Venegas, a member of the facilitation team, walked participants
through a history of past dialogues spaces. Mr. Venegas stressed the shared responsibility of participants to use the dialogue space to establish a collective voice and to write another chapter of the community story consistent with past successes. A similar emphasis was placed on creating a sense of ownership such that the Dorf agenda, priorities, and space can be directly informed and shaped by community will.
The Community Dorf agenda was shared with participants, outlining the following areas as focus points for discussion and community presentations: access and benefit sharing, marine and coastal biodiversity, Community Knowledge Service, community knowledge web portal, community conserved areas, indigenous people and climate change, biodiversity and business, women and biodiversity, and community ecotourism.
Dorf participants were asked to articulate expected achievements and desired outcomes. A living list that will be shaped over the course of the event, includes:
- Capacity building (sharing knowledge across borders)
- Influence the CBD to adopt community input and recommendations (on, for example, indigenous areas and peoples; access and benefit sharing etc.)
- Achieve formal recognition and higher visibility of communities in the COP9 process.
- Identify alternative livelihood opportunities for communities engaged in preserving protecting areas
- Develop skills for lobbying national governments
- Implement a tracking process for whether decisions have been implemented or not (e.g. holding governments to account for their commitments)
These issues were elaborated by the facilitation team and earmarked for further deliberation. The question was raised as to whether there is a structure in place to help communities move forward in-between dialogue spaces. Claire Rhodes, a member of the facilitation team, assured the group that indeed there is in the form of the Community Knowledge Service, an initiative that will be discussed at length throughout the event.
Working groups were established to report back to the Community Dorf on side events (e.g. Indigenous Forum, Carbon Markets for Communities, Bio-Trade, Agricultural Trade etc.) and discussions within the CBD, and to identify key messages that will be integrated into a "Community Declaration".
Apolinario Carino, from PENAGMANNAK, a community group based out of the Philippines, commented that it was particularly empowering to witness and be audience to the opening plenary session of COP9, a feeling of optimism that transferred over to expectations and hopes for the Community Dorf.