Nanning, China; 18-20 October 2016 - The ICCA-GSI expanded its reach to support countries beyond its core program, such as China. SGP, one of the key partners in ICCA-GSI, held an international workshop along with its co-organizers, the Guangxi Wildlife Conservation Society (GWCS), the Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Guangxi Biodiversity Research and Conservation Association (BRC) with the objective of increasing the momentum on the recognition of ICCAs.
China has many towering examples illustrating the crucial role of Indigenous and Community-Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs) for biodiversity conservation. Many of its provinces and local governments have issued policies to recognize ICCAs and support the role of indigenous peoples and local communities on the ecosystem protection, sustainable livelihoods and poverty reduction. In 2012, for example, the Guangxi Provincial Forestry Bureau issued the Regulations on the Forest and Wildlife Small Reserved Areas in Guangxi which enabled local communities to establish community-conserved areas. By the end of 2013, a total of 115 ICCAs existed in Guangxi. However, there is a gap in knowledge-sharing in the country. The best practices and traditional know-how of indigenous peoples in ecosystem protection and biodiversity conservation are not efficiently shared amongst the country’s conservation practitioners, the public and the government; and thus, the public awareness is very low and the value of ICCAs remain underestimated.
Workshop Participation and Activities:
The 3-day workshop served as a knowledge-exchange platform for over 100 multilevel stakeholders from 6 countries (Bhutan, China, Iran, Taiwan, USA and Viet Nam) including academia, civil society organizations, community villages, media, governments, international organizations and UN agencies.
Additionally, site visits to two (2) community-conserved areas (CCAs) in the Qu Nan and Xin Tuan villages provided the participants with hands-on experience and amplified their understanding on the local history, the current situation and future development of CCAs through participatory in-depth discussions.
The workshop’s discussion points covered ICCA topics at various scales such as (i.) the global development situations on ICCAs; (ii.) international policies related to ICCA; (iii.) case studies from the 6 participating countries illustrating best practices and challenges on implementing ICCA projects and their future development plans; and (iv.) site-specific analysis of ICCAs in four of China’s regions: Guangxi, Guizhou, Qinghai Sichuan and Yunnan, which examined the demonstrated value of ICCAs, best practices with proven positive results in ecology, politics, economy, culture and the impacts of country’s current ecological civilization policy.
The workshop concluded with the adoption of Initiative on Promoting ICCA Development and Attaching Importance on its Values in Biodiversity Conservation – a proposal signed by the relevant representatives. “The workshop has deepened the understanding among communities, government and NGOs from a multi-dimensional perspective,” said Ms. Liu Yi, the National Coordinator of SGP China. “It also gave each side deeper understanding of community- conserved areas’ value”. She noted in her speech that SGP will further strengthen communication and cooperation with both sides to promote development of community- conserved areas in China. Moreover, a social network platform was established by the participants during the workshop. This platform will be used to share information about ICCAs and other relevant aspects after the workshop.
For more information on ICCA-GSI, please click here.
For the PDF version of the workshop report, please click here.