On November 5th 2013, Maya Sikand from Natural Justice attended and presented at an International Workshop on ICCAs in Thika, Kenya. The workshop was hosted by the Institute for Culture and Ecology (ICE) and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. Participants included representatives from community organisations from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. The workshop provided an excellent opportunity for the different organizations to share lessons from the ICCA-related work they are doing across the world.
Maya Sikand gave a presentation on International Law and Policy Frameworks and ICCAs. Information about the various international mechanisms that exist was welcomed as just one tool of many to support and protect ICCAs. Different participants were able to connect the international frameworks to projects or developments in their own countries. For example, some had engaged with REDD+ or the Nagoya Protocol. Other participants came from countries that have put in place laws to protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and have participated in the work of implementing these laws. This presentation was followed by a discussion led by Adam Hussein Adam on the national legal context for Kenya, taking much from his recent report on the legal context for Sacred Natural sites in Kenya.
A lot of attention was paid to Sacred Natural Sites as an example of an ICCA. In particular the idea, “use it or lose it,” garnered much controversy. Some participants vehemently disagreed with the suggestion as there may be valid reasons why a community does not/cannot regularly use a SNS that they still value greatly. Documentation, especially through tools like Biocultural Community Protocols, was discussed as a good answer to this problem.