The first sub-regional conference for territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCAs) in Central Africa was held in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 7-9 March 2022. Co-sponsored by the ICCA-GSI, the National Alliance for the Support and Promotion of Indigenous and Community Heritage Areas and Territories in DRC (ANAPAC–DRC), an ICCA Consortium member, organized the event in partnership with the Integrated Programme for the Development of the Pygmy People in Kivu (PIDP), Synchronicity Earth, and SwedBio.
Focusing on two types of Protected Areas, specifically ICCAs (also known as ‘Territories of Life’) and ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs), the conference brought together 75 participants to develop a common advocacy commitment for the recognition, security, and enhancement of ICCAs and OECMs and to position their contributions to the sustainable biodiversity conservation in Central Africa. The participants represented 7 Central African countries (Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, DRC, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, and Rwanda) including honorary members of the ICCA Consortium, leaders and members of indigenous peoples and local communities, delegates of indigenous peoples' rights organizations, members of the Congolese government (Central Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and Governorate of North Kivu Province), National Coordinators of the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), and academics from Kinshasa and Kisangani.
These multilevel participants discussed challenges and opportunities, and broke out into three thematic groups to make significant progress on the following topics:
- The contributions to biodiversity conservation from the array of experiences and ongoing processes in ICCAs according to the countries of Central Africa.
- The proposal of policies and strategies to promote the values of their ICCAs that are aligned to their 15-year vision, including the establishment of organization, coordination, and communication systems to strengthen their efforts towards national governments, sub-regional institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and donors; and
- The planning and priority actions, according to the long-term vision, that are to be carried out at the national and local levels of each country as well as at the subregional level for Central Africa.
This historic event concluded with the signing of the Goma Declaration. The declaration outlines the commitments made by multi-level stakeholders and their synergized efforts to promote biodiversity conservation in ICCAs and OECMs.
For more information, please also see the article on the ICCA Consortium’s website.