Thegef: Using indigenous knowledge to reverse land degradation in Angola
Approximately 370 million Indigenous Peoples live in more than 90 countries around the world. A significant fraction of the world’s priority areas — based on biodiversity and ecosystem importance — overlap with Indigenous Peoples’ lands, territories and resources. Given the inextricable bond of Indigenous Peoples to the land, any loss of natural resources threatens their identity and impoverishes their communities. But Indigenous Peoples are not only victims of a deteriorating global environment: they are also a source of effective solutions.
The GEF has been working with Indigenous Peoples since 1991, and enhanced the partnership in recent years through the adoption of the Principles and Guidelines for Engagement with Indigenous Peoples, the development of the GEF Policy on Agency Minimum Standards on Environmental and Social Safeguards, which includes a minimum standard dedicated to Indigenous Peoples, and the establishment of the GEF Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group (IPAG), whose members include Indigenous Peoples and others, and provides useful guidance and partnership to the GEF Secretariat.
Using indigenous knowledge to reverse land degradation in Angola
With financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the participation of indigenous communities and their ancestral knowledge, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has helped strengthen the capacity of agro-pastoralists in south western Angola to reduce the impact of land degradation and to increase the rehabilitation of degraded lands.
Angola has a total land area of about 1 247 million km² of which 43 percent is under permanent meadows and pastures. Indigenous groups such as the Herero, the Khoisan and the Muimba, who rely on their traditions for the management of their pastoral and agro-pastoral systems, live in Angola’s southern provinces. Continuous drought occurring in the past years, overgrazing and other elements are forcing them to adapt to the new reality.
Improved pasture management is currently ever more crucial in order to provide enough feed for the animals, which are the socio-cultural capital and economic reserve of indigenous communities.