Members and Honorary members of the ICCA Consortium from Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Iran, Jordan, and Georgia attended the meeting
By Ali Razmkhah
Regional Coordinator for Central and West Asia on behalf of CENESTA, ICCA Consortium
The 2nd ICCA Consortium regional assembly of West and Central Asia and the Caucasus was held virtually 24-25 February 2022. The Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment (CENESTA) facilitated the event. The regional assembly was made possible with the cooperation of the Rural Development Fund (RDF) and the technical support from the global secretariat of the ICCA Consortium.
Members and Honorary members of the ICCA Consortium from Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Iran, Jordan, and Georgia attended the meeting and participated in facilitation processes and discussions. The main goal of the meeting was to re-construct the regional interconnection among Members and Honorary members and pursue decisions and outcomes of the 1st regional assembly held in Armenia in 2019.
During the 2nd regional assembly, participants shared knowledge and experiences of territories of life, status, and future priorities for supporting territories of life, and the role and responsibilities of Members and the ICCA Consortium to improve and promote territories of life in the region. They discussed various aspects of the regionalization processes and work priorities, such as developing and strengthening the regional network, establishing a working group to work on the regional manifesto, and designing a regional road map.
The assembly was inaugurated with a spiritual moment showing the respect and sense of belonging to nature and mother earth by the traditional ritual of burning juniper by Kuluipa Akmatova (RDF) and continued with Holly Jonas‘s message, the Global Coordinator of the ICCA Consortium.
After the introduction of participants, Sona Kalantaryan (FPWC) presented an overall review of the 1st regional assembly, actions, and decisions expressed. Then, through interactive communication, participants shared and discussed what their territories of life have gone through since the 1st regional assembly and what key initiatives and activities were carried out in the region to support territories of life.
The meeting continued with three working groups on ‘securing and supporting territories of life in the region” to reflect the insights and opinions on the three main thematic streams of work and policy within the ICCA Consortium: documenting, defending, and sustaining territories of life. Debates focused on three main aspects of the work; how we (as Members) support communities to strengthen their territories of life, how Members can strengthen their contributions to the ICCA Consortium, and How the ICCA Consortium can support communities and Members within the region.
The working group discussions resulted in the identifying the following priorities:
- Awareness-raising and capacity building of communities (in thematic areas such as ICCAs and biodiversity conservation).
- Pursuing the self-strengthening process in the territories of life of the region.
- Involving local youth and women in ICCAs related work.
- Strengthening the regional network and developing communication through dialogue platforms.
- Holding regular thematic meetings among the Consortium Members and communities.
- Promoting and supporting local/national networks.
- Capacity building and planning for documentation as the milestone of the appropriate recognition of territories of life.
- Preparing technical and advisory reports and guidance by the ICCA Consortium to consider socio-political diversities and differences among regions and countries.
The second day of the regional assembly opened with a ritual moment by Sutej Hugu (Regional Coordinator for East Asia, ICCA Consortium) in memory of Dr. Taghi Farvar. Then he shared their experience regarding the regionalization process.
After Hugu’s presentation and some discussions, Sanatbek Luldashev (KAFLU) facilitated the “regionalization process in the West and Central Asia and the Caucasus” session. Participants raised their points and thoughts regarding the challenges, opportunities, initiatives, and collaborative works of Members in the region. The discussions’ cornerstone was the common understanding of the necessity of the regionalization process for improving the interaction among Members and developing a network to learn from and support each other.
Continuing this discussion, Mina Esteghamat (ZIPAK) opened the floor to discuss the “regional cooperation; initiatives and road map” by discussing the framework Members want to pursue regional cooperation. Initially, participants discussed the importance of forming a council and its efficiency for the future. In this regard, the importance of functionality than representation was mentioned. Therefore, establishing various working groups or ad-hoc teams was considered to improve and develop regional cooperation. People believed that they could be more helpful than an unequivocal imitation of a global framework such as a council-based system in advancing practical issues. However, the local communities’ inclusion and participation and the issue of language differences are still significant challenges.
In the end, participants concluded that drawing up a roadmap with the help of regular meetings will help Members to meet future needs. Therefore, with Nahid Naghizadeh’s facilitation (CENESTA), participants discussed creating working groups to prepare a manifesto and a regional road map.