Categories Events, Events organised or co-organised by the consortium, Oceania, Regional Assemblies, Regional events, Updates

First regional assembly of ICCA Consortium East Austronesia and the Pacific Islands

The first regional assembly of ICCA Consortium Members in East Austronesia and the Pacific Islands helped make significant progress in the movement for the Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ territories of life in the region, as the Members built consensus on common strategic direction and plans. The three-day assembly was held via Zoom from May 26 to 28, 2022

Fishpond practitioners and community members are restoring the walls of Huilua fishpond in Kahana, Oʻahu, Hawaii. Photo: Mark Lee/ KUA

First published on 01/25/2023, and last updated on 02/14/2023

Reporting by Jovelyn T. Cleofe and Jimmy Qoloni Kerekesa, Regional Coordinator for East Austronesia & the Pacific Islands (on behalf of LMMA Network International), ICCA Consortium

The first regional assembly of ICCA Consortium Members in East Austronesia and the Pacific Islands was held from May 26 to 28, 2022.  The three-day event was held virtually via Zoom. 

The assembly helped make significant progress in the movement for the Indigenous Peoples and local communities’ territories of life in the region as the Members were able to build consensus on strategic direction and plans. It was also an opportunity to learn how Members document, sustain and defend their territories of life.

There are five ICCA Consortium members in the region, and four were able to attend the assembly.

In this post, we are presenting a brief recap of the regional assembly. Full proceedings of the assembly will be available soon.

Sharing strategies, priorities, and plans for supporting the custodians of the territories of life

The theme for day one was “sharing and learning.” Alifereti Tawake (Regional representative for East Austronesia and the Pacific islands to the ICCA Consortium Council) delivered the welcome remarks; he recognized the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brought to each country and community. He further explained how Indigenous organizations, ICCA Consortium, and the LMMA Network went through these challenges and addressed them. Alifereti stated that the movement for the territories of life was able to learn from challenges and address each one along the way.

After the welcome remarks, Regional Coordinator Jovelyn T. Cleofe presented the proposed topics and program for the assembly. In the next session, each ICCA Consortium Member from the region shared and discussed their priorities and plans for supporting the custodians of territories of life. 

On behalf of Member organizations, the speakers for the session were: Kevin Chang, Executive Director, Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA); Alifereti Tawake, Council Chair, Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) Network International; Aydah Vahia Akao, Coordinator, Network of Indigenous Peoples Solomons (NIP); Sutej Hugu, Coordinator, Indigenous Taiwan Self-Determination Alliance (ITW-SDA); and Tero Mustonen, President, Snowchange Cooperative.

Before closing for the day, two Regional Coordinators shared their thoughts, and Alifereti Tawake thanked everyone involved in organizing the assembly. Holly Jonas, the Global Coordinator of the ICCA Consortium, also joined the meeting.

Networking and partnerships

The meeting of the second day — themed “networking and partnership” — started with the ICCA Consortium’s Global Coordinator Holly Jonas introducing the Secretariat, and potential regional members introduced their respective organizations.

After that, Yvette Tari and Philma Zaku spoke about potential Member organizations in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Later, Jimmy Kerekesa, Jovelyn Cleofe, Sutej Hugu, and Holly Jonas discussed strategies for helping Indigenous and local organizations in the region by further disseminating resources on the self-strengthening process and organizing related training.

Regional assembly meeting

The last day was devoted to the regional assembly meeting. Alifereti Tawake started the meeting by welcoming the participants and then presented the Council Report.

Alifereti said that our direction in the region is to be more inward-focused because of the nature of where we are geographically and our vulnerability to climate change. The vision is to connect more Indigenous communities to the network in the region. He said changes in the governance systems of our territories are challenging our traditions and culture. In this context, strengthening and supporting the communities to remain firm about our territories of life will be our priority.

After the council report was presented, Members discussed the strategies and targets for the future and built consensus.

Strategies and Targets

  1. Connecting the organizational change of the ICCA Consortium with the regionalization process: (a) link members with the global Secretariat supporting platforms, co-fundraising, and budget allocation; and (b) promote learning network and collaboration among regional and inter-regional members & honorary members.
  2. Membership expansion: Expand membership recruitment from existing connections with the LMMA country networks, Snowchange Pacific program, and UNDP GEF SGP – ICCA GSI in Pacific Islands.
  3. ICCA Registry: Enhance the impact of the ICCA Registry by complementing it with the solidarity action of joint self-declaration and mutual recognition among custodian communities for territories of life as the peer-validation procedure is required.
  4. Create a regional database and knowledgebase along with the multimedia content management system with support from the global Secretariat (website, cloud sharing, YouTube channel, etc.), Snowchange (GIS), and resources from the regional coordination organization.
  5. Plan for an inter-regional Indigenous & community fishery and Local Managed Marine Areas Solidarity Exchange Workshop for Asia-Pacific/Austronesia-Indian & Pacific Ocean ICCA-LMMA network.
  6. Strive together from Self-Strengthening Process to Sustainable Self-Determination of the custodian communities for territories of life.

Strategies and targets will be adopted to continue moving forward.

Regional Governance and Operational Structure

  • Regional Assembly will meet annually.
  • The Advisory Board will be comprised of Honorary members.
  • Regional ICCA Members will meet quarterly.
  • The Regional Council will meet quarterly, supported by the Regional Coordinators.
  • (notify the members, prepare for the meetings, assist in moderation and documentation, provide regular updates, etc.)

Nex big events

  • Quarterly Members’ Meetings will be held.
  • Regional coordination team meetings will be organized fortnightly.
  • The second Regional Assembly will be held in May 2023.

Special Thanks

The assembly was made possible with excellent organizing and facilitation support from Sutej Hugu, ICCA Consortium’s Regional Coordinator for East Asia, and Alifereti Tawake, ICCA Consortium’s Council member.