By Dr. Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, Member of the Council of Elders of the ICCA Consortium.
Dear colleagues in the ICCA Consortium,
Greetings! This is my farewell message as global coordinator and would like to begin with sincere thanks for the privilege of having worked alongside you all– Members and Honorary members— for the last ten years (and more!). Thanks for your concerns and engagement, thanks for your wonderful energy and insights, thanks for your indulgence and good humour! With special emotion, let me say how grateful I am to Sarah and Emma– closest allies, friends and indispensable collaborators for many years, to Holly and Jessica—inspiring, supporting and challenging as only the best can be, and to Anne, Tiphaine and Yashar— the backbone of us all! The Consortium lives because of the work of its Secretariat and collaborators— Hugu, Carmen, Neema, Albert, Salatou, Joseph, Christian, Alexis, Kim, Lorena, Carolina, Sergio, Femy, Amy, Ali, Gaëlle, Sulle, Eli, Dario, Susan, Rafaela… I warmly thank all of you, dearest colleagues, and with you the few who spent some time with us and moved on to other challenges! Sincere gratitude also to all members of Council, and in particular to those who engaged as part of the past and present Executive Committee— Stan, Ashish, Dave, Lili, Vololona, Aili, Aman, Patricia, Mihanta, Colin and our new President Teddy—always jovial and ready to assemble us all! And thanks to those who greatly supported the Consortium in special roles, such as Trevor and Terence, Delfin and Fred, Maurizio, Vivienne, Ghanimat, ‘our Barbaras’, Giovanni, Pernilla, Kyra, Chivy, Ken, Sanjay, John and Beau, Imani, Jeyran, John and Sarat, Jenny, Naomi, Heather, Jessica K., Colleen, Gadir, Andrés et Nele, and so many others…
I leave after our energetic XVth General Assembly in India and with the joy of seeing emerging a new and inspiring leadership in both Secretariat and Council. We have also just been communicated that— adding to our ‘security savings’— we succeeded in several project proposals that will take the Consortium to an entirely new level of financial support… so distant from our humble beginnings! This is great, although I tremble a bit for the Secretariat who will need to multiply its delivery capacity both technically and administratively… But be confident, dear Members, as you could not be in more trusted hands! Possibly, find a way to engage even more, as your energy will be needed and much appreciated… As for me, I will not disappear (I hope 😊) and will be always willing to support you, but kindly from now on contact Holly, Thomas and Ameyali for the kind of issues, questions and proposals that you have passed on to me in the past ten years, and contact Aili— and Teddy, Mihanta, Aman and Colin— for anything relevant for decision making at the level of the Council. The Council has asked me to join the Elders of the Consortium, and I look forward to serving in that capacity, if and when useful.
My hope for the Consortium is that it will consolidate its identity as the foremost world association representing indigenous peoples and local community custodians of territories of life. This may take-on some rather visible aspects: possibly using less the abbreviations that evolved with us (ICCA, TICCA, APAC), adhering to a simple but very clear manifesto of what the Consortium is all about, dramatically expanding our membership… and possibly changing our name. Even more meaningful, however, would be some substantial aspects to consolidate the path indicated by Taghi at his last GA, in Geneva, when he noted that custodians are only those determined to collectively govern, manage and conserve their territories. Indeed, a stated commitment to “sustainable self-determination in territories of life” would even more clearly characterise our movement and strengthen its identity and mission to face the so many challenges ahead.
Let me leave you with a thought for Taghi—our quintessential elder and inspirer and the one who truly bridged and connected us all—indigenous and non-indigenous, progressive and traditional, academics and activists. Taghi was warm, humane and terribly fun. He was also thoughtful, fully aware of what was at stake, and most determined. I wish for all of us to keep alive a good measure of Taghi in our ways of working. With Holly’s and Teddy’s gentle and powerful leadership, the Consortium is destined to amazing new heights. May you all contribute to the best of your capacities!
Thanks again and keep strong in 2020 and more 😊,
Front picture : Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend and Ashish Kothari, member of the Council of Elders of the ICCA Consortium, among the main co-founders of the ICCA Consortium, together at the XVth General Assembly in Udaipur, India, December 2019.© E. Courtine