Earth Day 2023: Inclusive conservation invests in Indigenous and local women
This year’s International Mother Earth Day, celebrated under the theme ‘Invest in our planet’, encourages the global community to act boldly, innovate broadly, and implement equitably. The Inclusive Conservation Initiative (ICI) invests in Indigenous-led conservation and empowers Indigenous and local women as part of its governance structure and as leaders in natural resource management.
From the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the mountain landscapes of Nepal and the wilderness of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, Indigenous and local women have an intrinsic relationship with Mother Earth and play crucial roles as carers of natural resources and keepers of traditional knowledge. Join us on a journey around the world and hear directly from three ICI sub-projects to see how they are investing in the women in their communities.
“ICI offers an opportunity for the valorization and support of women's efforts in nature and biodiversity conservation through the involvement of Indigenous women in project implementation activities at national and local levels. Indigenous women in our society have long suffered from non-inclusion and non-involvement in conservation and other projects, despite their efforts to contribute effectively to environmental conservation.
ICI offers us a window of opportunity for the inclusion of women in our efforts in community conservation and in the management of land, water, and natural resources.
Since conservation is everyone’s business (men’s and women’s), in our communities traditional conservation practices are shared and internalized by both men and women and passed on to young girls and boys without discrimination. It is therefore necessary that women apply their knowledge for inclusive and sustainable conservation. Specifically, Indigenous women are part of ICI’s Steering Committee and are members of the Indigenous pygmy communities that benefit from this project in different areas. This involvement in the coordination and decision-making bodies of the sub-project will contribute to the valorization of women's knowledge and talents in conservation.”
Asia and the Pacific
“Our sub-project area is the ancestral homeland of Indigenous Peoples. Gurung, Thakali, Tin Gaule Thakali, Magar, and Tamang, among others, are the major Indigenous Nationalities living in the area. Like in other parts of the world, the Indigenous Peoples of this area hold distinct science and knowledge systems, whereas Indigenous women are the key actors of keeping such science and knowledge alive, and transmitting them from one generation to the other. The population of Indigenous women in the project area is slightly bigger than that of men, which is similar to the national context.
ICI in Nepal aims to safeguard Indigenous women’s rights by bringing Indigenous women’s perspectives and participation in matters affecting their life and lifeways.
ICI focuses on awareness raising; promotes Indigenous women’s knowledge through Indigenous enterprises; supports their heritages - including their skills and knowledge systems - accompanying them by action research; and helps create a conducive environment for Indigenous women to exercise their customary practices, in which their knowledge, skills and lifeways are embed. NEFIN ultimately aims to demonstrate the fact that Indigenous Peoples’ values and culture put high regard for nature, including all sentient beings dwelling in nature. This is a great value indeed in today’s crisis of imbalance between human beings, other creatures and nature. We will then present the message of Indigenous Peoples including Indigenous women playing key roles, but being ignored till date, in keeping harmony between human beings and nature. We believe recognition, respect, and safeguarding of such Indigenous values should be celebrated.”
“The Paq'uch project is developing actions for the use, management, and conservation of natural resources with a focus on strengthening Indigenous women's capacities at the local, national, and international levels.
For our project, the theme of Mother Earth is intrinsically related to Indigenous women.
In this framework, Indigenous actions and knowledge will be strengthened where women play a key role in governance, generation of knowledge, and intergenerational transmission.
Under ICI, investment processes will be developed with Indigenous women with a focus on sustainability, community economic generation, technification, and commercialization of their products.
The project will promote actions for social, cultural, environmental, and economic empowerment of Indigenous women and youth through several activities. Specifically, it will:
- Strengthen the technical capacity of Indigenous women, youth, and adolescents in the management and conservation of natural resources (land measurement, establishment of nurseries, reforestation, wildlife conservation, etc.);
- Encourage the participation of young Indigenous women and adolescents in national and international spaces related to conservation;
- Incentivize the participation of women in the intergenerational transfer of traditional knowledge related to sustainable management and conservation of natural resources and adaptation to climate change;
- Promote sustainable productive models with local, national, and international scaling up;
- Boost productive enterprises and community industries with cultural and environmental responsibility; and
- Elaborate and implement community business plans.”
The Inclusive Conservation Initiative (ICI) is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and co-implemented by Conservation International (CI) and IUCN.
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