During the CBD COP 14’s Protected Areas day on 22 November 2018, Ms. Ana Beatriz Barona, the National Coordinator for SGP Colombia shared an overview on its ICCA projects. Colombia is one of the world’s top 5 mega-diverse countries and 35% of its national territory (approximately 40 million hectares) is titled to and governed by indigenous and afrocolombian communities. 50% of the forests are in these collective territories, and thus, biodiversity conservation depends on the communities’ capacities to manage and conserve their territories. However, despite the importance and strong work on ICCA and OECMs in Colombia and institutional subnational support, they are not legally recognized yet. Moreover, ICCA and OECM methodologies and processes are not in line with the local capacities and diverse forms of governance.
As demonstration projects on the ground are currently being implemented to increase the support to and recognition of ICCAs, Ms. Barona presented some lessons learned from the SGP and ICCA-GSI projects including (i) Community and Territory: (a) resource mapping and walking the territory is a key strategy for the ownership, recognition and pride of communities' territories and identity; (b) when practiced, traditional knowledge and local wisdom becomes self-valued by the communities; and (c) diverse cultural practices define communities´ profound bond with the territory, and are related to decision-making processes for collective management; (ii) Self-Governance: (a) diverse instruments, norms and local agreements for land-use planning defined and agreed in participatory manners generate ownership and commitment to comply; (b) exercise of self-governance as related to laws and regulations, landmarks and territorial demarcation, and greater presence and control; (c) permanent adaptation and reconfiguration of the governance systems as related to traditional authorities and political leaders; intergenerational dialogue; and women´s participation and leadership; (iii) Conservation and Livelihoodspertaining to (a) diversity of management and conservation strategies developed using innovative and intercultural approaches, according to sociocultural contexts; (b) territorial ordering and diverse land use planning and zoning based on particular local use practices of use and traditional knowledge (c)self-acknowledgement and valuing of natural resources, traditional knowledge and cultural values do promote improvements of sustainable productive practices; (iv) Weaving collective work by setting up an ICCA Network. Established in November 2018 in Colombia, the ICCA network serves as a mechanism to continue the self-definition of ICCA concept, set the foundations for its operation as well as raise awareness and contribute to policy for the national recognition and support of ICCAs.
For more information on ICCA-GSI work in the country, please see the Colombia ICCA-GSI Country Profile.