Recognizing the rights of Indigenous People and Local Communities
The fourth day of the IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress started with a passionate Leadership Dialogue that focused on upholding good governance of protected and conserved areas and recognizing the role of indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs), women and youth for the achievement of biodiversity conservation goals.
Crucial issues raised during the discussion included the relocation, mistreatment, and forceful evictions of IPLCs to create protected areas and national reserves, noting that their displacement leads to the loss of livelihoods, cultural orientation, and knowledge.
The panelists highlighted case studies that provided solid evidence that showed environmental degradation and deforestation rates were lower in areas where communities hold their collective land rights, and the freedom, to protect their natural resources using their traditional knowledge.
A One Health Approach for a Better Earth
One of the resounding messages from this inaugural APAC is that a healthy ecosystem translates into improved health outcomes. This theme was tackled further during a high- level session titled Opportunities for One Health Approach for People and Biodiversity, which brought together government officials, development partners and researchers. The session provided a platform for participants to share lessons learnt and best proactive from COVID-19, examine preparedness against future pandemics, and highlight the role of research, financing, partnerships and financial resources in conservation in Africa.