The Africa CSOs Biodiversity Alliance (ACBA) in collaboration with China’s Civil Society Alliance for Biodiversity Conservation (CSABC) hosted a webinar titled sustainable management and use of wild species and agricultural and husbandry ecosystems towards human well-being and an ecosystem service-based economy. The webinar was held on the 30th August 2021.
The living habits, production, and lifestyles of the indigenous people, local communities and small-scale farmers are inseparable from the ecosystem where they live, cultivate and practice their traditional culture informed by local knowledge and characteristics. These interdependent and coexisting lifestyles are beyond the reach of other external agents. Although the role of indigenous people, local communities and small-scale farmers is so important, they are faced with many social, political, and economic problems, and even the living standards in many areas are worrying.
The main goal of the webinar is to share lessons learned and best practices on “Sustainable management and use of wild species and, agricultural and husbandry ecosystems for human well-being and an ecosystem service-based economy” and how they can contribute to the Global Biodiversity Goals of the post-2020.
The outcomes of the webinar were to create a common
understanding of the importance of conservation in areas under the control and
management of IPLCs and small-scale farmers, to appreciate how community
empowerment enhances the potential for ABS in support of sustainable
livelihoods and lastly, to highlight how Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) can
contribute towards balancing the relationship between conservation and
Dr. Tobias Nyumba project coordinator at Africa conservation centre stated that Civil Societies have been known to have a lot of influence and resources. A major problem he sees is the CSOs being perceived as anti-development, especially for international CSOs. The CSOs have responded to this by engaging from the beginning with implementers of development projects, including by working with governments.
“The development of agriculture, protection of genetic resources, and benefit-sharing of genetic resources require development models to be based on and match different regional ecosystems. The complex nature of agroforestry serves as a carrier for cooperation between multiple parties, combining people from different cultural backgrounds into a small community. It is about the lasting ecological maintenance, continuity of economic benefits, and inheritance of national culture.” Said Ms Zhou Hongguo a professor at Jishou university
Ms Lesle Jansen the chief executive officer at Resouse Africa, gave a detailed report on the Rooibos case study, she mentioned that Rooibos case is important for highlighting how indigenous communities still struggling for full recognition of their rights to their land, culture, and resources can assert their ownership. Access and Benefit Sharing in this case was a catalyst for the Khoi and San peoples to reconnect with their resources and land, and was a helpful tool for them to unlock access their rights to both.
In conclusion Mr Guanqi Li the Coordinator at Farmers’ Seed Network highlighted that in the past 20 years, every time they encounter a new community, they identify what seeds they farm, and if any of these seeds are endangered, His organization supports communities to preserve them, especially traditional seeds, because it is an important part of conserving biodiversity and community livelihoods