What are the community dialogues?
In 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Equator Initiative launched its first community dialogue, the Community Kraal. The success of the Community Kraal inspired a further twenty-one community dialogues over the following fifteen years that have celebrated grassroots efforts in conserving biodiversity, improving local livelihoods and well being, and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. During this time, more than 500 community members have participated in these forums, forging partnerships between their organizations and linking local leaders with policy makers at the international level.
Originally designed as a response to the lack of representation of local and indigenous groups at international forums, community dialogues strategically position local and indigenous voices in national and international policy processes.
Community dialogues are a place for representatives of Equator Prize winning communities and other local and indigenous representatives to share their experiences and practices with each other. They are an opportunity for participants to develop capacity in specific areas related to sustainable development and environment through targeted workshops and trainings.
Among the key objectives of dialogue spaces are:
• To highlight the importance of community work in achieving global poverty reduction objectives such as the SDGs;
• To recognize and celebrate the winners’ achievements; and
• To provide a forum through which community representatives can interface directly with global and national policy makers.
The outcomes of each dialogue space are unique. Community representatives are able to make lasting connections with international policy-makers, their national governments, and each other. Policy recommendations developed in the dialogue space are typically documented in a Community Declaration, which is often presented at a high-level plenary session.