15 December 2016

Cancun, Mexico, December 12, 2017
The Small Grants Programme, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), participated at the 2016, thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity that is taking place in Cancun, Mexico this month. The meeting is held every two years to review progress, adopt programmes of work, ensure it achieve its objectives, and provide policy guidance.

Helen Clark visits SGP project near Cancun
On December 3rd, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark visited one of our projects led by Mayan communities in and around the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an. The project implemented by Community Tours Sian Ka’an (CTSK) received several grants from our Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation (COMPACT) initiative in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, to help preserve the biodiversity of the Biosphere Reserve, protect the traditional knowledge of Mayan communities and support the livelihoods and wellbeing of the local Mayan community.

Helen Clark Cancun

As a result of these investments, CTSK was able to significantly improve its eco-tourism services including tours of the Muyil wetlands and canals, the blue lagoon, local caves and a museum of Mayan culture in Tihosuco while also creating jobs and income generating activities for the community. Community Tours Sian Ka’an is also a winner of the Equator Prize. During the visit Helen Clark expressed her admiration for the achievements of this Mayan community enterprise and her support of this innovative initiative.

This project was also later visited as part of the organized site visits by the CBD Secretariat and Government of Mexico within the Muuch’tambal Summit.

Supporting Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas-ICCAS
To recognize the importance of Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas-ICCAS, SGP organized a side event on "The global partnership on ICCAs to achieve the CBD Aichi Targets" to present the progress achieved and partners involved in the ICCA Global Support Initiative. At the event speakers emphasized the importance of ICCAs, the efforts to support indigenous and local communities, the characteristics of ICCAs and their contribution to biodiversity, cultural diversity and sustainable development. Terence Hay-Edie, SGP Programme Advisor for Biodiversity presented SGP’s work in the ICCA Global Support Initiative, a dedicated programme co-funded by the Government of Germany, and the progress achieved to date. Representatives from the Federal Ministry of Environment of Germany, the GEF Secretariat, IUCN, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and the ICCA Consortium also spoke on the occasion. For more information click here

Featuring the work of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities
On December 8th, in partnership with UNDP, the Equator Initiative, the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, and other partners, SGP participated in the “Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) Day” at the Rio Conventions Pavilion. The aim of the day was to feature indigenous and local community voices and perspectives, and to connect them with policy makers, academics, private sector, civil society and the media.

Sustainable Fishing and Protection of Marine and Coastal Habitats - Learning from Local Action Credit: IISD

The day started with a panel on "Local Action For Achieving the Aichi Targets And Global Goals" in which Tehmina Akhtar, Global Manager a.i. of SGP, explain the continued work of the programme in terms of biodiversity conservation which has supported over 1,800 protected areas and ICCAs in over 125 countries empowering indigenous and local communities. Following this panel, SGP grantee José Canto from Pescadores de Vigía Chico y Cozumel, Mexico and SGP National Cooridnator from Belize, Leonel Requena presented their marine conservation practices at the panel: "Local Action For Sustainable Fishing And Conservation Of Marine Habitats."

Yolanda Contreras CBD COP13 SGP grantees Yolanda Contreras from Asociación de Artesanas de Arbolsol y Huaca de Barro del Distrito de Mórrope from Peru and José del Carmen Huichin from the organization Koolel Kab/Muuch Kambal, Mexico presented at the panel on “Sustainable Agriculture: Using Traditional Knowledge To Preserve Biocultural Diversity”. Closing the day, was Roman Caamal, Community Tours Sian Ka’an, Mexico talking on the event “Sustainable And Inclusive Tourism: Respecting Culture, Protecting Nature.

Yolanda Contreras CBD COP13Celebrating our 25th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of the Small Grants Programme Tehmina Akhtar, spoke about the history of SGP and the lessons learned in this quarter century of work supporting communities to manage and protect the global environment and for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Other speakers included Jamison Ervin, Manager, UNDP Global Biodiversity Programme, and Yoko Watanabe, Senior Biodiversity Specialist, Global Environment Facility. At the event, SGP also announced the winners of its Indigenous Peoples fellowships for Biodiversity: Thingreiphi Lungharwo from India and Edith Bastidas Calderón from Colombia. For more information click here.

Muuch'tambal Summit on biological and cultural diversity
SGP also participated in this Summit that took place from December 9-11 and celebrated the traditional knowledge and biological and cultural diversity of indigenous peoples.

Muuch tambal Summit on biological and cultural diversity Picture credits: Roman Caamal, Community Tours Sian Ka’an; IISD; CBD