African Workshop on Community Protocols Kicks Off

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A two-day meeting on bio-cultural community protocols started today, bringing together a range of representatives of African Indigenous peoples, local communities, and community-based organizations (CBOs).

The aim of the meeting is three-fold: first, to review existing rights based approaches (RBAs) to biological resources and traditional knowledge; second, to evaluate the potential of bio-cultural community protocols to improve existing RBAs in their efforts to secure, for example, free, prior and informed consent with respect to any activities undertaken that affect the community’s tangible and intangible resources; and third, to discuss the viability and utility of establishing an African collective of indigenous peoples, local communities, and CBO networks that will coordinate activities, share experiences, create linkages, and develop capacity on the use of community protocols at the community, national, and regional level.

The meeting is co-hosted by the ABS Capacity Development Initiative for Africa and Natural Justice. It brings together approximately 25 participants from different parts of the continent, sharing a wealth of experiences. On this first day of the meeting, participants presented and discussed different models of RBAs to conservation, as well as what types of legal frameworks are available to communities in order to support their ways of life. Furthermore, a range of CBOs presented on their use of community protocols and other tools such as participatory mapping and developing a story of origin to help them in their negotiations with outside parties, as well as communicating customary laws surrounding the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources.

The day ended with a short film on bio-cultural community protocols by the Life Network and the League for Pastoral Peoples and a demonstration of the IUCN RBA to Conservation Portal, which functions as a platform for exchange of knowledge and experiences of RBAs.

2 September 2010

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