25 September 2023
The stage is set for a gathering of advocates, experts, stakeholders and community members, committed to advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in Africa while nurturing the precious biodiversity that sustains us all.
The Africa Regional Learning Exchange on Rights and Conservation, hosted by the International Land Coalition (ILC), the Tenure Facility (TF), and Community Land Action Now! (CLAN!), is set to take place from October 2nd to 6th, 2023, in Kenya.
This five-day event is a collaborative effort to learn, inspire, discuss, and coordinate actions that empower Indigenous Peoples and local communities to secure their land and territorial rights, recognizing their vital role as stewards of nature. Delegates from various African nations including Burkina Faso, Mali, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Madagascar, Gabon, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya will convene to delve into effective strategies, approaches, and solutions for advancing these rights within the context of conservation.
At the heart of the exchange is a commitment to exploring both the challenges and successes in the pursuit of rights-based conservation and restoration. Participants will engage in meaningful dialogues, share their experiences, and gain insights into safeguarding livelihoods and biodiversity while enhancing resilience in the face of various challenges.
Kenya, our host nation, offers a unique perspective. With a solid legal framework recognizing IP & LC land rights, the country has been a testing ground for pilot initiatives involving communities in conservation practices and management. However, the gap between recognition and implementation of these rights remains, with conservation practices dispossessing many communities of their ancestral lands. The exchange will serve as a platform to compare cases and share rights-based conservation experiences from across Africa.
The event's focus on Rights and Conservation is aligned with global efforts to combat biodiversity loss and protect indigenous rights. The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, as agreed upon at COP15 in Montreal in December 2022, seeks to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by putting 30% of the planet and 30% of degraded ecosystems under protection by 2030. This target aims to recognize IP & LC conserved territories and areas (ICCAs) and Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs) as integral components of protected areas' management.
However, concerns persist among land rights advocates and environmental defenders regarding the 30x30 target's potential pitfalls, as it is influenced by actors historically associated with conservation. The Africa Regional Learning Exchange will delve into the implications of this biodiversity agenda within an African context, exploring the potential for more equitable benefit sharing and rights-based development outcomes.
Kenya, with its rich tapestry of pastoralists, communities, Indigenous Peoples, and women's crucial roles in natural resource management, ecosystem restoration, climate adaptation, and conflict resolution, serves as an ideal backdrop for these discussions. The nation's history of state-controlled Protected Areas, pilot projects involving communities in conservation, and robust legal framework recognizing Indigenous Peoples and local communities land rights offer valuable insights into the path forward.
While 40% of Kenya's lands are designated as community lands, the gap between official recognition and implementation remains a challenge, leading to displacements from ancestral territories. The event will shed light on these issues, emphasizing the need for long-term investments to enhance local livelihoods and food security.
Kenya also boasts several conservation areas, including the Maasai Mara National Reserve, where different models of conservation coexist. The exchange will highlight successful experiences of co-management of protected areas by Indigenous Peoples and local communities challenging the conservation efforts.
The Africa Regional Learning Exchange on Rights and Conservation promises to be an event that shapes the future of conservation and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in Africa. Together, we can build a more sustainable and equitable world where biodiversity thrives, and communities flourish.
For media inquiries, please contact:
International Land Coalition-Africa
About Community Land Action Now! (CLAN!)
CLAN! is an informal network of Indigenous People and local communities, Community Based Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations in Kenya. It was established in 2018 to share knowledge and build solidarity for tackling multiple lands and natural-resources related issues, in particular formalization of community land rights. This arises in the context of new legislation which provides a new class of property, community lands, alongside the private and public property, and legal procedures through which the land of each community may be formally adjudicated and secured under an issued collective land entitlement.
About the Tenure Facility (TF)
Indigenous Peoples and local communities live and manage more than half of the world’s land, but they have legal ownership of only 10 percent of their territories. These rich, biodiverse areas are vital to the people who live in them and the planet we all share. Contributing to sustainable climate solutions, advancing human rights, reducing land conflict, and promoting development can all start with recognised community tenure rights.
At the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility, our goal is simple: we partner with Indigenous Peoples and local communities to help advance and protect their community land rights and, in doing so, create a better world for them and us all.
We offer dedicated financial and technical support for innovative approaches to implement tenure rights, while sharing the knowledge, innovations, and tools that emerge across a global network.
Based in Stockholm, Sweden, our organisation was launched in 2014 by the Rights and Resources Group and established as an independent entity in 2017.
About the International Land Coalition, Africa (ILC)
ILC Africa is a network bringing together 95 member organizations from 28 African countries. It is a regional platform of the International Land Coalition, a global alliance of civil society and intergovernmental organizations working together to put people at the center of land governance. The shared goal of ILC's over 300 members is to realize land governance for and with people at the country, regional and international levels responding to the needs and protecting the rights of women, men, and communities who live on and from the land.
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