International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB)
SBSTTA 17- Strategic Goal A
This is a statement on behalf of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB), a network of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
I would like to summarize and highlight our key points regarding Strategic Goal A and we will also submit a full document of our input to the Secretariat. We fully agree with the summary conclusion that highlights the need for “greater coordination” as a means to improving the raising of awareness of biodiversity. In order to achieve depth in any collaboration the IIFB feels that it is essential to forge equitable relationships, especially with Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
Finding opportunities for common successes is important, such as through Communication, Education, and Public Awareness processes (CEPA). The IIFB Working Group on CEPA has our own programme of work however, we feel that an additional important indicator for Target 1 would be the number of collaborations between Parties and Indigenous Peoples and local communities at a national level. Members of the IIFB are ready to collaborate with Parties at a national level and see this as an opportunity that will lead to the achievement of the Aichi Targets.
In addition, the IIFB feels that the recognition of multiple knowledge systems, including those of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, is an important factor for SBSTTA to fully support in it’s work.
Finally, for the IIFB, we feel that it is imperative for us to highlight Aichi Target 18 of Strategic Goal E that relates to the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples but it also calls for the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples.
In-depth review of each target and recommendations
It is clear to the IIFB that there is a need to find more effective forms of collaboration between Parties and Indigenous Peoples and local communities, which includes working through the IIFB Working Group on CEPA to affect systemic change.
The number of collaborations between Parties and Indigenous Peoples and local communities identified at a national level is an additional important indicator for Target 1.
Indigenous Peoples and local communities work directly with our communities, utilizing methodologies, materials, and languages that have proven to be successful. There is a need for the allocation of resources for the participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans (NBSAP) and activities.
We believe it is important to focus on CEPA at the national level because the issues of many IPLCs become side-lined or lost due to a variety of reasons that includes the belief that science and technology can solve all problems The important insights of traditional knowledge in conservation issues are not picked up by the wider society. Effective communication, education and public awareness activities done with the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities will ensure that our perspectives are heard. Also, in achieving global awareness, systemic inclusion will ensure our approaches, our worldviews, and our sciences are considered.
The IIFB has been active in implementing our programme of work on CEPA, which is a cross-cutting issue. For example, the IIFB has produced an educational resource kit titled “Indigenous Peoples and the CBD”. This is a resource that was developed by indigenous representatives in Global Educator Workshops. This is a useful tool that is currently being used in various trainings related to the CBD.
The IIFB Working Group on CEPA is interested in developing actions in collaboration with Parties, other governments, UN agencies, and others. For example, sharing platforms by making use of national days of biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples, allocating airtime in the local and national media (radio, tv), print coverage, etc. Collaborative CEPA work needs to be ongoing and integral, and avoid superficial acts that do not reflect deeper working relationships.
Capacity-building to document and record global experiences of IPLCs would be very helpful not only to Parties but to IPLCs. The new monitoring system being tested may provide good results.
Within the work of SBSTTA there is a challenge of working with multiple knowledge systems. This must be overcome in order to recognize the importance and value of diverse knowledge systems. We believe the process must begin with relationship-building with a view to implement the technological applications and common goals. We recognize that often members of the scientific community do not understand worldviews of IPLCs and hence there is a diminished ability to forge equitable relationships, that respects diverse knowledge systems, value systems, methodologies, and appropriate methods. So, with the existence of equitable trusting relationships, IPLC worldviews can be included in research and advice that respects community perspectives of conservation and sustainable use. Encouraging the inclusion of Indigenous faculty members and students is an important long term goal that will contribute to the creation of an ‘ethical space for collaboration’ and subsequently, this process.
As in our earlier comments on relationship-building, if the status quo is maintained, IPLCs and Parties cannot make positive progress on discussing and raising awareness of the need to reduce harmful policies on economic and non-economic incentives. Insights into positive trade-offs for these policies need to be made by a variety of government departments and IPLCs. In order for all members of society to contribute to solutions, there must be dialogue about both impacts and alternatives.
Achieving this target, and Strategic Goal A in general, is critical to sustaining human life. Solutions must be found, for example, in reviewing national policies of concern within multiple sectors including social, economic and environmental. The limitations of current observational data sets can be augmented by the geographic and temporal observations of IPLCs for sustainable production and consumption and to keep the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.