Day 6 - March 24
Friday, March 24: Millennium Development Goals Day (continued)
Announcements: Due to Thursday’s rain, Friday, March 24, 2006 was a continuation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) day at the Community Taba. Esther began the morning by recounting how the previous day ended, and by thanking everyone for enduring the rain. Sean Southey (Manager, UNDP Equator Initiative) then described the weekend field trip to Cananeia Oyster Cooperative.
MDG Overview: The day was organized around the MDG tool developed by GTZ. Taba participants were divided into groups, each of which was tasked with analyzing a specific community practice and using the MDG tool to frame community development work. Within the groups, participants were asked to:
- Discuss good practice sharing
- Analyze results out of the practice
- Locate how their practice contributes towards the MDGs
In addition, participants were asked to consider how the National Biodiversity Service and Action Plan (NBSAP) can be utilized, at the community level, to complement the work of the CBD community level without creating an unnecessary layer. The discussion on the 2010 target on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 should provide a good entry point to consider how community conservation can be integrated into national strategies.
Break Out Groups: Five separate community projects were presented in individual break-out groups (one project per group). A brief summary of the outcomes of these presentations can be found below, for two of the five projects.
Fijjian Dance Troupe
Five Fijiian communities, representing 13 tribal groups spread across 20,000 hectares are working together to conserve a track of tropical lowland forest. This remnant represents one of the last remaining undisturbed forest blocks in Fiji, and has been identified as one of the major areas in NBSAP. All of the land is owned by the community, and approval of the local community is necessary to establish it as a protected area. Thus far, a NGO has brokered an agreement between the local community and the government, to help the Fijjians have the land declared a protected reserve. A five year lease has been granted to the community, so that a series of baseline surveys and community-level negotiations can be completed. NGOs are trying to secure the funds necessary for this project, via proposals submitted to the GEF Small Grants Program, and other potential funding sources.
Given this leasing arrangement, and the Fijiians’ intent to conserve and protect their land, they used the break out group session to look at what the communities are gaining from community projects. Thus, this group considered the MDGs, one by one, and asked what outcomes they have seen that contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty.
One community outcome that the Fijiians mentioned was the presence of a traditional dance troupe. This dance troupe won a national prize, which provided them with the funds and the opportunity to travel to neighboring islands. From there, the dance troupe was selected to travel to New Zealand and participate in the Commonwealth Countries Festival of Arts.
Discussion and analysis identified four ways in which this community outcome contributed towards the MDGs:
- MDG #1 (Eradication of hunger and extreme poverty): The dance group was getting income from their performances that could be extended to their families.
- MDG #3 (Empowering women and gender equity): The dance group was both men and women.
- MDG #7 (Environmental sustainability): The dance group used traditional costumes that showcased leaves and other elements from the Fijian forests.
- MDG #8 (Develop global partnerships): The performances of the dance group helped to integrate people within the local community and promote cultural understanding at the international level.
Conversations within this break out group led to the observation, comment and concern that cultural protection is not explicitly outlined as a distinctive MDG. It was suggested that cultural protection can and should be integrated into MDG # 7 to read ‘ensure environmental and cultural sustainability.’
Other outcomes mentioned by the Fijiians include:
- Extensive consultation with community members. Ongoing consultation brings together key stakeholders: NGO, government, regional university, and the communities. This outcome contributes to MDG #8 (develop global partnerships), where all stakeholders are well-informed and engaged.
- Protection of 20,700 hectares of land, via the lease agreement (MDG #7).
- With assistance from Conservation International, a scholarship fund was started for children in the community. Over the long term, this fund will be financed under a trust that will be established next year.
- Three funding outflows to the community (MDG #1):
- short-term lease and scholarship fund paid by the NGO to the community (now) o once the long-term lease is negotiated, a trust fund will be established, which will fund the community development fund, lease rental, compensation, and management costs and scholarship. Approximately $4 million is necessary to establish the trust fund.
Included in the lease rental there is also an element of compensation to the communities to alleviate temptation of communities to fold to logging company pressure.
- Attained approval of forestry board to recommend to the cabinet that the area be declared a nature reserve.
- Completed baseline biological surveys. The area has been identified as a Key Biodiversity Area under the Fiji NBSAP process (MDG #7).
Sustainable Fishing in Brazil
Waldir Sourza da Trinidade, of the Colonia de Pescadores Z-16 de Cameta, presented his community’s work on sustainable fishing initiatives. Waldir’s community is located along a river within the northern part of the State of Paraná, Brazil. In this traditional fishing community, there are two separate activities that serve as the foundations of the economy: (1) subsistence fishing, and (2) fruit extraction. Waldir chose to concentrate his presentation on fishing as a conservation strategy within local communities.
Approximately thirteen years ago, a dam construction began upstream from Waldir’s community. The impact of this dam on the fishing community was quite severe, and the living conditions of the fishers were compromised as the abundance and diversity of fish decreased. As families began to migrate from the area, the community realized the necessity of discussing management and conservation strategies, adapted to the and constraints imposed by the dam. Specifically, fishing agreements were brokered within and between communities, which attempted to regulate and limit maladaptive practices such as predatory fishing, over-harvesting and the use of spawning areas.
A participatory community agreement, supported by the Ministry of the Environment, focused on educating the fishers (both men and women) regarding the fragility of the ecosystem and the need to adapt fishing practices towards sustainable practices. This project has taken four years from conception to implementation.
Because there has been no scientific research of any sort on the fisheries and/or pelagic ecosystems within this community, the community relied on traditional knowledge of species’ migrations and spawning areas. This traditional knowledge of species’ ranges and requirements was the instrument upon which local policies were drafted.
Specific components and/or outcomes of these policies include, as well as the MDGs to which they contribute, include:
- mapping, traditional knowledge of fish migration routes and spawning areas (MDGs #7, 1, 3)
- protection of spawning areas, prohibited fishing areas and times MDGs #7, 1)
- adjustment of fishing equipment, to reduce fishing pressure on the fish population (MDGs #7, 1)
- record-keeping, so that fishers can track their catches, etc (MDGs #7, 1, 3)
- training of agents (MDGs #7, 1, 3)
- agreements that were reached within and between communities with a high degree of community participation (MDGs #7, 1, 3)
- establishment of an aquaculture industry (MDGs #7, 1)
Based on the daily monitoring that is being completed by the fishers, the community has concrete data that production has incrased 70% over a four year period, and that productive waters are maintained throughout the year. In addition, a species that is endemic to the two watersheds in the area has increased in abundance, and reports of environmental crime are down 90%.
In the afternoon session, Suhel Al-Janabi (GTZ) finished up the presentation and demonstration on the MDG electronic tool kit. Suhel reiterated the various functions of the toolkit: (1) presentation, so that a community project can be portrayed to potential donor organizations and other interested parties, and (2) analysis, so that community members can better structure and analyze their work. Suhel then asked for feedback on the project.
Feedback Session on the MDG Electronic Toolkit:
Isabelle Rosa Conti, from Brazil, said that she found the tool to be extremely valuable, especially for visualizing the connections between her community’s work and the MDGs.
Waldir Sourza da Trinidade of the Colonia de Pescadores Z-16 de Cameta stated that the he found the process very valuable, and that the tool helped him to see how the connections between his community’s work and the MDGs. In addition, Waldir congratulated Isabel on the work that she is managing within her community. Waldir concluded by asking Suhel (GTZ) if it would be possible to include an feature in the electronic tool that would enable a visualization of the possible difficulties associated with project implementation. Waldir suggested that such a feature would help to portray the success and progress of the project in a more comprehensive manner.
Souell answers that they like to insert a tool, perhaps like an obstacle course or an ‘opposition box’, that would enable a community to depict their challenges. However, Souell cautioned against the possibility of visually overloading the poster, and stated emphasis should be placed on how communities can contribute to the MDGs.
Esther asked the participants to continue to provide feedback on the electronic toolkit, and announced that Souell is willing to provide support to community groups at the Taba that would like to produce a poster. GTZ can also provide groups with the electronic toolkit manual, in English (present at the Taba) or Portuguese (forthcoming). Because the Portuguese manuals are currently in transit, Souell asked for a volunteer who would be willing to translate a single page of text from English to Portuguese.
Summary of Major Themes from Community Taba, Week 1
Willy Kostka then took the floor to present a draft statement that the Pacific Island contingent has been working on since the Island Biodiversity Day at the Taba. Although the draft document
was written with a specific emphasis on small island communities, many of the themes discussed on Island Biodiversity Day are amenable to other communities. Willy thus welcomed Taba participants to modify the draft such that it is useful for their own situation.
Willy’s statement described the overall objective of the community Taba, recognized the integral connection between island communities and their local biodiversity and the direct contributions that islanders could make to conservation initiatives. In addition, the key issues and challenges that must be faced by local communities, in order to move the conservation process forward, include (please refer to Wednesday, March 22, 2006 for a more complete discussion of key themes and challenges):
- land tenure
- recognition and protection of indigenous and local knowledge
- political instability,
- land conservation
- promotion of bio-friendly pesticide and chemical free agriculture
As a result, the draft recognized the importance of committing to the implementation of the island biodiversity line of work, networking and learning exchanges and continuing the process of community dialogues as embodied by the community Taba.
Willy then asked for feedback on the draft statement. One participant asked for copies to be printed out and distributed to Taba participants. Because of limited printing capacity, Willy instead offered to give participants access to an electronic copy of the draft statement. A Brazilian participant asked that the importance of a vaccination program be highlighted in the statement. Another Taba participant asked that a statement regarding the importance of conserving resources now, for the sake of future generations, be added to the draft. Finally, a participant who was concerned with access and benefit sharing asked that an explicit statement be added regarding the protection of cultural interests and the use of genetic resources.
Taba participants thanked Willy for sharing the draft statement with the community, and congratulated him and the rest of the Pacific Islanders, on the drafting of such a solid statement.
Report on Happenings within the COP8
Kabil, from South Africa, provided a brief report of key issues and happenings within the COP8. Two significant messages emerged, on access and benefits sharing (abs), from the abs working group in Granata, Spain. These include:
- a proposal for an international regime on access and benefit sharing (akin to a draft law) that would be considered by the parties, along with other draft decisions.
- a proposal for an international certificate of origin, such that any product patented or sold must be accompanied by a certificate of origin that states the country from which a particular genetic resource has been taken.
In general, western nations, such as Australia and the European Union, are against these proposals. Non-western nations, led by the Ethiopian contingent, are strong supporters of the proposals. Under the proposals, any time a western country uses a genetic resource from another country, the western country must enter into an agreement with the other nation. Non-western countries, such as Ethiopia, are not only in favor of an abs agreement regarding genetic resources, but they also want the abs to extend to any product that is developed from a particular plant (i.e. a derivative).
One implication of the acceptance of the abs proposals would be the need to ‘tag’ genetic resources with some sort of document or paper. At the moment, there is no clear method for tagging resources in this fashion, especially at a commercial level. Although an abs working group has been established, abs issues will not be decided and resolved at this COP.
Another significant issue under discussion at COP8 is Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs). GURTs have come into the forefront of COP discussions, as companies that manufacture transgenics are pushing for the use of some sort of ‘terminator technology’. By incorporating a terminator gene into a seed, companies such as Syngenta and Monsanto can ensure the protection of their intellectual property rights. This is because seeds with the terminator gene are sterile following harvest.
One concern associated with the use of GURTs is the fact that agro-businesses will have disproportionate share of the market. There is concern that local plant varieties will be lost, in favor of transgenic mono-cultures, and that farmers will lose their autonomy to save and exchange seeds. However, of potentially greater concern is the ease with which many plant species hybridize. Hybridization of GURTs with native plants, or within native ecosystems, may render the hybrid plants sterile. If such a scenario is realized, the effects on non-agricultural systems could be profound. Current proposals suggest that the use of GURTs will decided on a ‘case by case basis’. Opponents worry that this is opening the door for the slow integration of these technologies into the market. Because the chair of the COP said that a consensus was on these issues was necessary in order to move the proposal forward, the recommendations by the working group on article 8j (specifically, the case by case wording) was dropped. This is of course a boon to local communities.
Kabil concluded by briefly discussing the satirical awards that have been given out by the Civil Society Groups. The United States won the most shameful act of biopiracy award, in recognition of all of the plants that have been pirated out of Africa and patented in the United States The access of evil award was shared by Canada, Australia and New Zealand, for their attempts to lift the ban on GURTs.
Review and Reflections on the Community Taba, Week 1
The afternoon session concluded with a discussion of the community Taba, week one. Esther asked the participants what they thought worked well with the Taba, and what are the areas they would like to see improved.
Willy suggested that time management, and better adherence to the scheduled times for discussion, would be most appreciated and would better enable Taba participants to come up with real solutions. One of the interpreters asked that a set of minimum rules (regarding noise levels and crowd control) should be enforced within the Taba space.
Esther responded by stating that there will be a greater effort of to adhere to the scheduled times for activities, yet noted that at times, the schedule must be modified to accommodate high level visitors (such as the Governor of Paraná). Nonetheless, Esther stated that the Taba team is trying, as much as is possible, to prevent interruptions by individuals and organizations.
Afternoon Announcments. The day closed with a series of announcements. Due to the rain on Thursday, Knowledge Day (originally scheduled for Friday), will be held on Monday, March 2X, 2006. On this day, presentations and discussions will focus on the documentation and sharing of knowledge within and between local communities, as well as with national and international partners. In addition, how local knowledge can be used to inform public policy will be discussed. The day will open with two community presentations on knowledge exchange processes, followed by break-out group discussions. Esther thanked those presenters who graciously worked around this schedule change, and will be presenting their work to the Taba a bit later than they had originally anticipated.
Esther wished everyone a wonderful weekend, filled with rest and respite, and also thanked Souell and Andreas from GTZ for their continued financial and other support of community projects.
Taba participants who have publications on their networking activities were encouraged to bring them for display and distribution on Monday. The Global Biodiversity Forum (GBF) will be holding a reception at the Zestful Restaurant (in the Expo Trade Center) at 8:00pm Friday evening. Sean Southey (Manager, UNDP Equator Initiative) will be facilitating a session on the local to global initiatives at the GBF on Saturday.
Claire asked anyone who is plans on going on the field trip to the Cananeia Oyster Cooperative, or who has questions about the field trip, to please speak with a staff member sometime this evening. The bus for the field trip to the Cananeia Oyster Cooperative will depart from the Blue Tree Basic Hotel at 2:00pm on Saturday. Francisco de Sales Coutinho, from the Cananeia Oyster Cooperative, thanked Taba participants for visiting Cananeia, and briefly described the activities that were planned for the trip. The activities include a dinner in the city, a trip to the Cananeia Oyster Cooperative (with oyster tasting!), lunch at Camma Mangino, and then a return to Curitiba.
Finally, Hewan Girma (Fordham University) announced that a camera crew will be interviewing Taba participants for a documentary they are producing on the Community Taba. Please talk with Hewan if you have any questions.