The 1st Regional Assembly of the ICCA Consortium in Africa took place from November 6th to 11th, 2018, at the Liesak Resort in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, in the context of the Consortium’s process of regionalisation.
Please find the Agenda here. The minutes will be available soon.
The Members of the ICCA Consortium in Africa and the delegates of the Center for the Conservation and Alternative Indigenous Development (CICADA) were warmly welcomed on November 6th in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, by the Abaa Gadaa of this Oromo region, the director of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, a representative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia, our Ethiopian Member of Council Dr. Zelealem Tefera Ashenafi, and by Mr. Temalade and Mr. Admassu, representatives of the emblematic Guassa ICCA of the Ethiopian Plateau. Grazia Borrini Feyerabend, ICCA Consortium Global Coordinator, then offered an introduction on ICCA and the ICCA Consortium, and Colin Scott, CICADA Director, an introduction on CICADA.
The meeting began with a tribute to Dr. Mohammad Taghi Farvar, the late president of the ICCA Consortium who had given us the vision and energy to pursue our mission and celebrate and recognise the world’s first conservationists: indigenous peoples and local communities. This was followed by presentations by each participant of the Regional Assembly, describing the current status of ICCAs in their regions and countries, and identifying the existing threats to their ICCAs and the opportunities they could seize. A list of initiatives to be pursued in the region, organised in main themes, includes:
- Promoting cultural continuity/sustainability of knowledge, tradition, and culture, including via transfer of knowledge from elders to the youth
- Communicating to build awareness, promote the values and benefits of ICCAs and share information (with necessary safeguards)
- Promoting sustainable livelihoods
- Promoting appropriate legal frameworks for ICCAs throughout various sectors and legal options for recognition on a variety of levels, to match needs
- Developing strategic alliances and strong national networks
- Empowering communities to strengthen themselves and their ICCAs
- Identification and documentation of ICCAs
- Defending ICCAs and their defenders
- Fundraising (with necessary safeguards)
These themes were first identified in small groups that included Consortium and CICADA colleagues and then discussed in more details to define new steps and actions to be implemented by all the organisations present. The work proved a good occasion for weaving stronger ties with our CICADA colleagues. They are a Member of the ICCA Consortium and they support networks of researchers and practitioners in various regions, including Africa. From our exchanges we identified several areas for future collaboration.
Our exchanges were enlivened by a field visit to a sacred lake of the Oromo Territory, where we saw the serious impacts of encroaching urbanisation. Professor Gemetchew, from Rift Valley University in Addis Ababa, provided an overview of the complex Oromo cosmovision, the threats and challenges Oromo people are facing, and the actions they are taking to conserve their culture.
The final day was dedicated to the internal structure of the ICCA Consortium as it should change as part of the process of regionalisation in the African continent. The French-speaking and English-speaking delegates worked in separate groups to imagine a re-organisation that would privilege national networks and members’ representatives. Sub-regions requiring specific attention were identified as the Horn and East Africa, as well as North Africa, where there is as yet no Regional Coordinator. The Regional Coordinator’s role should be based on the solid and trusted presence of the existing coordinators, whose work would serve as model. Each present Member and Honorary Member emphasised the need to preserve clear ties with their ICCAs at the local level, where the identity and legitimacy of the Consortium is grounded. Links to the international Consortium should remain robust and clear, as the strength of the Consortium also lies in the fact that is an international network of local, national, and regional initiatives. Through this combination of local, national and international identity, the Consortium gains credibility and weight.
After an intense week of meetings and collaboration, the participants celebrated their union and strength as a region preparing to present their work at the General Assembly which was to begin the following day. There was a strong, shared awareness that this Assembly in Ethiopia represented a key step in the history of the Consortium’s work in Africa.
For more information, please contact Christian Chatelain, Co-coordinator for Africa
Please find here the Overall Agenda for the meetings organised by the ICCA Consortium in Ethiopia, including the ICCA Consortium XIIIth General Assembly.
Two prior events on Africa took place in November 2017:
- A coordination meeting about initiatives in French-speaking Africa
- A meeting on ICCAs in Africa.