Globallandscapesforum: Restoration initiatives must include indigenous peoples, GLF delegates say
BONN, Germany (Landscape News) — Landscape restoration initiatives must include the voices and involvement of indigenous peoples, and particularly women, to ensure success. That was the main message from participants at a session on Land Territory and Natural Resource, Traditional Knowledge and Climate Adaptation, hosted by the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development (IPMG) at the recent Global Landscape Forum conference in Nairobi.
“Restoration of global landscapes cannot play by the current rules,” said Gertrude Kenyangi, executive director of Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN) and a member of IPMG Uganda. “It is necessary to form new institutions and organizations which specifically take into account the specific concerns of the local communities‚ indigenous peoples and marginalized groups such as women, youths, people with disabilities and minorities.”
After all, she pointed out, the degradation that restoration projects are now addressing took place under a system that has allowed the inequitable and destructive use of landscapes, motivated very often by greed.
“Policies, laws and regulations that existed when the degradation process was taking place were clearly defective. It is imperative that they are assessed and reviewed,” she said.
The leadership of women was critical, she added, in community revitalization and renewable natural resource management, a point backed up by IPMG Kenya member Edna Kaptoyo with several practical examples of women-led projects.
“Indigenous women are part and parcel of the land,” she said. “Landscape restoration initiatives need to capitalize on their knowledge, their specific knowledge on key species, whether it be what to plant and what can work in key areas.”
Kenyangi also underlined the distinction between stakeholders and rights holders. “Indigenous peoples and Local forest dependent communities must be recognized as rights-holders and not another category of stakeholders,” she said. Any intervention “must be a human rights-based collaborative venture between the rights holders and stakeholders as partners.”