Categories Council, Europe and Russia, Finland, People

Dr. Aili Pyhälä

Secretary of Council

Based in Finland. Having lived on all continents except Antarctica, Aili has more than two decades of direct experience with protected areas, indigenous peoples and local communities, participatory processes, and social and environmental justice issues. A trained permaculturist, fluent in 8 languages, and with professional experience in 25 countries, she enjoys promoting cross-cultural communication and exchange. She has worked with tens of different indigenous peoples around the world, in their territories, mainly on issues related to indigenous knowledge and rights. She has on several occasions worked with national government and inter-ministerial policy groups in attempts to assist the incorporation of more holistic and integrated sustainability indicators (e.g. Ecological Footprint, Gross National Happiness) into decision-making. With 20 years of experience evaluating international cooperation projects worldwide, she is currently interested in the ways in which the promotion and imposition of various forms of so-called “development” programmes – in the ways of mainstream systems of education, politico-spiritual governance, and natural resource management (including top-down conservation and food security strategies) – affect local cultures, environments, knowledge systems, and overall wellbeing. Aili is Adjunct Professor in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki. She also sits in the Council of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) for Europe, and is a member of the Centre of Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA). Aili is an Honorary Member of the ICCA Consortium, and currently sits in the Executive Committee of the ICCA Consortium as Secretary of Council.