We are living in unprecedented times. With more than 2.6 million confirmed cases at the time of writing and most of the human population on some form of lockdown or movement restriction measures, the COVID-19 pandemic has irrevocably changed our world within a few short months. This has in turn changed the nature of our and our Members’ work in support of ICCAs–territories of life.
On 9 April 2020, the ICCA Consortium organised the first round of what will likely be a series of online discussions to bring together our membership in this difficult time to strengthen solidarity, share experiences and responses from territories of life around the world and jointly reflect and strategise on the ICCA Consortium’s role. This first round included one call in English and one call in Spanish with more than 70 people in total, including Members, Honorary members and allies of the ICCA Consortium. After spiritual openings by Indigenous elders and representatives, we talked about the many challenges and difficulties that Indigenous peoples and communities are currently facing in their territories of life. We also heard inspiring stories of traditional practices of self-isolation, food sovereignty systems, innovative use of technology to monitor needs and emergencies in territories of life, strong systems of organisations at the regional level to ensure the best possible flow of information and more. We are grateful to everyone who shared their experiences before, during and after the calls.
Together with the ten invited speakers, we reflected once again on the exemplary role of territories of life in this context. This led us to think about how to further strengthen core values of kinship, love, solidarity, self-reliance for basic needs, reciprocity, compassion and equity. We considered how the ICCA Consortium could play a role in challenging the dominant paradigms that led to the emergence of COVID-19, advocating for the longer-term, systemic and structural changes needed for a future of diversity, equality and justice, and supporting the leadership and participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities in visioning, decision-making and guiding these deep changes.