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Instituto Zág is an Indigenous youth-led organization whose key activity is the reforestation and preservation of traditional knowledge around the Araucaria tree, known as Zág. The Zág tree holds sacred and symbolic value to the Xokleng Peoples, but is currently on the verge of extinction due to centuries of uncontrolled exploitation. Reclaiming the traditional territory of the Xokleng Peoples in the State of Santa Catarina, where the Zág tree thrives, is one of the most emblematic struggles for Indigenous rights in Brazil, and in the world today. With only 2% of the Zág tree’s original habitat remaining, the reforestation efforts of Instituto Zág are crucial for the survival of the Araucaria and of the continuation of ancestral wisdom. These efforts include removing invasive trees, valuing ancestral traditions, and conducting educational activities with diverse audiences to safeguard the Araucaria tree as a source of nutrition, medicine, and cultural identity. Through its actions, Instituto Zág recognizes the interdependence between the Zág tree and the Xokleng people.


Perfect Village Communities "PVC Burundi" is a community-owned and managed social enterprise that recognizes the correlation between environmental degradation and decreasing community health. To address this issue, PVC Burundi focuses on empowering local communities, with a particular emphasis on women and youth, by promoting self-sufficiency through the utilization of natural, locally-produced alternatives for land restoration and sustainable food production. Notably, they produce products such as organic manure bio-control methods for pests and diseases such as malaria, tailored to the community's specific needs and offered at affordable prices. Consequently, community members not only restore the land but also experience increased farm yields, leading to improved food security and better nutrition. Moreover, by selling surplus produce, they address developmental challenges, including accessing healthcare services. To date, PVC Burundi has planted over 500,000 diverse seedlings and trees, successfully regenerating 5,000 hectares of land, while contributing to the restoration and preservation of the local environment.


The Asociación de Desarrollo Productivo y de Servicios Tikonel (Asociación Tikonel) is an organization fostering sustainable natural resource management and the development of community-led micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Operating in 152 communities nationwide, with a particular emphasis on the volcanic chain in the western highlands of Guatemala, the initiative has strongly contributed to the sustainable management of 3,776 hectares of land, including soil conservation, reforestation, and agroforestry. In their mission to combat environmental degradation, Asociación Tikonel has provided improved cookstoves to 50 families and implemented training programs for over 8,000 community members on various topics related to sustainable forest management and forest conservation. They collaborate with the National Forest Institute for business management projects and are integrated in 11 local grassroots organizations, as well as 18 MSMEs working on community entrepreneurship and sustainable value chains. Through their activities, including the sustainable production and selling of wooden and textile articles, Asociación Tikonel successfully promotes inclusion, gender equity, and empowerment of Indigenous peoples.


The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) is a non-governmental organization that unites 180,000 Inuit Indigenous people across Nunaat, the Inuit homeland that spans Canada, Greenland, Russia, and the State of Alaska in the United States. ICC integrates ancestral Inuit knowledge and practices to protect the Arctic ecosystem and defend land and ocean rights. They conduct research, advocate for sustainable practices, and provide representation for Inuit communities. To establish an Inuit-managed protected area in the Pikialasorsuaq, a shared region between Canada and Greenland, the ICC initiated the Pikialasorsuaq Commission. Through community consultation with youth, elders, men, and women, this groundbreaking initiative aims to preserve the ecological integrity of Pikialasorsuaq, the largest Arctic polynya. It also seeks to enable unrestricted movement between historically connected communities. This marks the first international Inuit-led body managing an Inuit Protected Area, setting a unique precedent for conservation and Indigenous rights.


The Kpanyan Community Land Development and Management Committee (CLDMC) made history in 2019 by becoming the first community to gain formal ownership of their traditional land in the South East of Liberia, under the 2018 Liberian Land Rights Act. The 21 communities of the Kypanyan District collaboratively set aside significant areas of highly biodiverse forest of over 40,000 hectares for long-term protection. They also embraced sustainable agriculture interventions to improve food security, diversify income streams, and adapt to climate change. By engaging a diverse set of stakeholders, the local government, private sector, and other NGOs, the Kypanyan CLDMC managed to expand their forest conservation plans under the Production, Protection, and Inclusion (PPI) Compact Coalition while ensuring participation and support of local communities. Inspired by the work of Kpanyan CDLMC, seven other districts in Southeast Liberia followed suit and took similar steps to register their Customary Land rights and developed sustainable land use plans, stretching over 700,000 hectares of mostly forested land.


The Young Emerging Farmers Initiative (YEFI) is a youth-oriented organization in Zambia that empowers young people in rural and urban areas through sustainable agriculture. YEFI has a network of over 500,000 youth and has successfully addressed high unemployment rates, particularly in rural areas across Zambia, by establishing over 50 youth-led enterprises and creating 1,000 jobs. With their passion to protect biodiversity and critical natural resources, the organization has planted over 6,000 trees and conserved 5,000 hectares of forest. Additionally, YEFI promotes organic farming and agroecology practices, resulting in the regeneration of 10,000 hectares of degraded land and a significant reduction of at least 30% in nitrous oxide emissions per hectare. This has improved soil structure, minimized erosion, and enhanced plant health, ensuring the land's resilience to changing weather conditions. YEFI's efforts contribute to both resilient ecosystems and a just and prosperous food system, while also empowering youth through policy and awareness campaigns.


Kapunungan sa Gagmay’ng Mangingisda sa Concepcion (KGMC) is an organization established by a fishing community in 1986 in Zamboanga Sibugay, a province in the southeastern part of the Philippines. In response to the decline in fisheries within the bay area of Barangay Concepcion, they took on the mission to combat the depletion of mangrove forests along the coast and address the threats to the coastal and marine ecosystem, as well as their communities. Through community organizing and development, environmental education, policy support as well as law enforcement for the protection of mangroves and fisheries resources, KGMC successfully rejuvenated the ecosystem. Through their rehabilitation and conservation activities, a total of 10,000 to 12,000 hectares of mangrove forests are now thriving again in their communities and across the province, bringing back previously vanished species of fish, shellfish and migratory birds to Sibuguey Bay. Ultimately, KGMC's dedication to mangrove conservation and community development has resulted in creating a sustainable environment for future generations.


Tergar Charity Nepal (TCN) is a locally-driven organization focused on improving food security and livelihood in the remote Himalayan community of Samagaun, Northern Nepal. They promote crop diversification and sustainable crop management while implementing bioclimatic passive solar greenhouses for enhanced food security. TCN also promotes women’s empowerment through raising awareness and providing guidance around menstrual health and hygiene in Samagaun. They also offer a literacy class to promote education and income generation for women in the community. In partnership with a Canadian luxury tea company, TCN has shown a strong motivation to empower women, as they have successfully developed a value chain project, resulting in increased income for Samagaun women. They pick and process rose hips for the production of tea sold in Northern America. Building upon this success, TCN expanded the project in 2022, constructing 32 additional greenhouses in Samagaun and 15 in the neighboring village of Samdo.


Nestled deep in the tropical forest of Esmeraldas province on Ecuador's coast lies Comuna Playa de Oro, one of the oldest Afro-Ecuadorian settlements. Despite facing numerous threats, such as illegal mining, deforestation, encroachment of oil palm plantations, and the presence of violent paramilitary groups and traffickers, this resilient community thrives. With a population of 350 individuals from 80 families, Comuna Playa de Oro safeguards 10,000 hectares of forest in the Chocó bio-geographical region, and is part of an Indigenous area called “Territories of Life.” Recognizing the strong bond between nature and people, this community has developed sustainable income-generating activities. These include ecotourism led by women and youth, sustainable agriculture, and the establishment of bio-enterprises producing products such as cacao and cacao honey. Despite the challenges they face, the community's determination and commitment to conservation have allowed them to build a sustainable future while protecting both their forests and their cultural heritage.


The Uru Uru Team was initiated in 2019 by Indigenous youth from the Urus community in Southwestern Bolivia. Their goal was to protect Uru Uru Lake, which has been facing severe pollution issues caused by waste from the nearby city of Oruro. This pollution poses a threat to the Indigenous community, local flora and fauna, and an internationally recognized wetland under the Ramsar convention. As a solution, the Uru Uru Team developed floating rafts that blend Indigenous knowledge with the scientific principles of phytoremediation. These rafts, made from recycled materials and native plants which absorb heavy metals and contaminants, have successfully reduced lake pollution by 30 percent. Through the capacity building efforts of the initiative, the Urus community managed to establish a community garden to support the maintenance of the rafts and generate income. The Uru Uru team showcases an effective model to ensure the well-being of an Indigenous community, preserve their knowledge and cultural identity, while curbing lake pollution to protect biodiversity.


Créée en 1998 sur l'île de Musine, en Équateur, la Coordinadora Nacional para la Defensa del Ecosistema Manglar (C-CONDEM) rassemble des dirigeants communautaires, des écologistes et des chercheurs issus de communautés afro-indigènes d'Équateur. La C-CONDEM promeut l'autosuffisance des communautés locales d'Esmeraldas vis-à-vis de la souveraineté alimentaire en restaurant l'habitat local de manière à faciliter l'utilisation durable des ressources et la justice environnementale pour les membres des communautés locales, afin de garantir les avantages mutuels de la nature et de la communauté locale.

C-CONDEM focuses specifically on the socio-ecological restoration of the mangrove ecosystem due to its classification among the “most important wetland habitats” globally. Morphology, sedimentation, nutrient availability, as well as tides, waves and estuaries, play an important role in determining the succession of the ecosystem that is vital in the tropical coast of Ecuador. Mangrove restoration is beneficial because mangroves serve as wildlife hotspots, carbon sinks, and natural and effective buffers for coastal communities against frequent tropical storms.


Ocean Revolution Moçambique a revitalisé les façons dont les peuples indigènes de la baie d'Inhambane ont coexisté avec la mer ; pour trouver, encadrer et mettre en réseau de nouveaux activistes ; et pour protéger et honorer l'océan en tant que source de richesse. Cette organisation préserve et protège les habitats vitaux des mangroves et des herbiers marins dans la baie d'Inhambane en s'appuyant sur des pratiques autochtones historiques. L'une d'entre elles est le concept mozambicain de "Mukhedzisseli" ou sagesse pratique, des règles culturelles et spirituelles transmises de génération en génération pour définir la relation entre les êtres humains et la nature.

By empowering local community members to be certified divers, facilitating environmental education programs, and supporting local women to pursue higher education in marine conservation, they have developed an inclusive, nature-based economy in this critical ecosystem in coastal Mozambique. For example, Bitonga Divers and Ocean Revolution support students to pursue a Master’s in Marine Biology and Coastal Management at the prestigious Eduardo Mondlane University. Through their work, the initiative has bridged modern science and community traditional knowledge to effectively create jobs in marine science and tourism that restore Inhambane Bay.


Located in the province of Maï-Ndombe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mbou-Mon-Tour (MMT) is a non-governmental organization created in 1997 by local communities. With the support of their customary power in the Bolobo Territory, they founded the NGO following the observation of the depletion of wildlife in their territory and the effects of deforestation. Its vision is to promote a world where people meet their basic needs through the sustainable management of biodiversity. After years of actions and procedures, Mbou-Mon-Tour has succeeded in mobilizing the population and their traditional leaders to initiate a community-led and managed forestry project, the only one of its kind in wildlife and habitat conservation to date.

MMT focuses on three key areas of intervention: promotion of research, ecological monitoring and habituation of bonobos; fight against poverty and food security in the region; and raising awareness of local populations, environmental education, and territorial governance and classification in local community forests.


Sur le lac Oguemoue, près de Lambarene, au Gabon, le groupe communautaire local OELO concilie l'écotourisme et la gestion durable des ressources en eau douce afin d'influer sur la politique locale. Leur entreprise d'écotourisme Tsam Tsam soutient des centaines de pêcheurs locaux en plaçant la nature et la faune au cœur de moyens de subsistance durables. En 2018, la communauté OELO a lancé un plan de gestion durable de la pêche en eau douce qui a été signé dans la loi nationale, qui dicte maintenant l'utilisation durable dans une partie du plus grand site Ramsar du Gabon. Grâce à l'activisme et à l'éducation environnementale, l'organisation protège contre la surpêche dans la région des Grands Lacs du Gabon, protégeant ainsi des espèces clés telles que le lamantin d'Afrique.

The organization also takes a holistic approach to sustainable fisheries management by promoting alternative livelihoods for fisherfolk in the region. One example is their trailing of fencing to reduce human-elephant conflict that has traditionally hindered the development of agriculture in the region.


L'Associação Rede de Sementes do Xingu (ARSX) rassemble des femmes issues de 25 communautés autochtones, agricoles et urbaines des régions brésiliennes du Xingu et du Cerrado afin de promouvoir la collecte de plus de 220 espèces de semences indigènes en vue d'un reboisement écologique à grande échelle. Les membres de la communauté collectent, vendent et distribuent des lots mixtes de graines appelés "muvuca", préservant ainsi les moyens de subsistance et les connaissances traditionnelles de la communauté afin de restaurer les chaînes de valeur locales et de récupérer plus de 7,4 milliers d'hectares de forêts dégradées.

The seed hubs partner with local research institutions to exchange and blend local and technical knowledge, practices, and research to combat industrial agriculture and mass deforestation seed by seed. The association is a nexus for the restoration of the Amazon and Cerrado in Brazil due to its innovative approach and the adaptability of the sowing process. Various Indigenous and local communities across the Amazon and Cerrado region are replicating ARSX’s muvuca method which demonstrates the association’s wide-scale impact.


The Organization of United Indigenous Women for Biodiversity (OMIUBP) builds capacity in biodiversity, climate change, and traditional knowledge conservation techniques to protect big cats in Panama while preserving their Indigenous territory and culture. Through community level technical training, partnerships, and workshops, OMIUBP empowers women and youth from the Guna and Embera communities to effectively participate in and influence the implementation and monitoring of national and international laws and agreements related to biodiversity, conservation, and climate change. Through community cultural protocols, members generate and transmit oral and traditional knowledge in children’s storybooks as well as through digital media storytelling platforms to inspire local decision makers to develop culturally-sensitive and sustainable policies.


Niché dans les forêts tropicales et les prairies de la province de Simbu, en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, le Mauberema Ecotourism, Nature Conservation, Education, Research & Training Centre (MENCERTC) est une organisation autochtone de conservation de l'écosystème et de préservation de la culture.

Founded in 2017 by a young Indigenous community member, MENCERTC brings together 8 communities across the province to sustainably manage 665ha of a biodiversity hotspot. MENCERTC has integrated Indigenous values, traditional knowledge, and cultural practices into their conservation methodology.The community-based organization has formed numerous partnerships with local universities and international conservation NGOs to train and empower local youth to be the future conservation leaders of the Mauberema ecosystem.

Furthermore, MENCERTC is helping community members establish numerous nature-based enterprises, ranging from Indigenous crops, coffee, non-timber forest products and their growing ecotourism lodge. In a country with a history of International development interventions that have impinged on Indigenous sovereignty, MENCERTC stands as a model for sustainable, Indigenous-led local action.


La coopérative Sunkpa Shea Women's Cooperative est une coopérative de beurre de karité dirigée par des femmes autochtones dans la région des savanes du nord du Ghana. Cette coopérative a pu adopter une approche communautaire pour créer une chaîne de valeur durable et inclusive du beurre de karité qui a offert des opportunités économiques à plus de 800 femmes au sein de la coopérative.

The Sunkpa Shea Women's Cooperative, born out of the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA), have led local initiatives that contribute to ecosystem restoration with indigenous economic trees and traditional fire management practices. These interventions help mitigate wildlife risks in this drought prone region of Ghana. Practices such as collection of shea in the locally zoned areas of production, no-take zones, and limited use areas are contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and enhancing landscape characteristics.

In addition to their sustainable harvesting of shea nuts, the cooperative has substantially improved their value addition capacity by making high-quality, organic shea butter and selling it directly to International buyers through the cooperative.