Community Statement at the World Conservation Congress

A Pathway to Sustainability

During the 2016 World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i, communities of the UNDP Equator Initiative and the WIN Network have taken part in the Community Kauhale ‘Oiwi, a conservation-themed community dialogue during which they issued the following statement, titled “A Pathway to Sustainability”:

“The communities of the UNDP Equator Initiative Community Kauhale ‘Oiwi and the WIN network have come together during the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 to share our stories and innovations in social and ecological resilience.

Today we are some 7.3 billion people on Earth and estimated to be 8.4 billion by 2030. Insurmountable pressure on our Mother Earth is about to unfold.  Time is telling us to pause and contemplate, now. Not later, but today.

The SDGs with their 169 targets embody our common aspirations to sustain diversity and the environment. As human beings that care for the well-being of the next generations, it is imperative that we implement them together as one nation, as one People.

Our planet is at the crossroads. We are here to choose the right path. Today and not later is the right time to act.

We have been reminded at the Kauhale that everything required for life is provided by Nature.  Peoples who are rooted in place have the moral compass and knowledge to make sound decisions that lead to positive outcomes for all living species.

Do No More Harm.

The strength of our culture has enabled us to thrive and maintain our dignity in the face of adversity. We know what is best for our communities. We continue to hear the cries of indigenous peoples; in Mexico a mega dam project threatens to drown the ancient heritage of their cultures. In the Philippines, an expansion of the Energy Development Corporation into the Mt. Talinis Range on Negros Island, will destroy 4000 hectares of primary forest.

We urge the international community to raise awareness and stop the planned super highway to divide the Ekuri community and destroy the largest remaining rainforest in Nigeria.   Critical for our communities to survive is to ensure we have ownership and control of our lands.

Forest restoration is essential to protect us not only from the impacts of climate change, but also to sequester GHGs and secure our foods and livelihoods. This action will protect our water sources and ensure our self-determination and resilience.

Recognize and value the role of women. Women are equal partners in sustaining the planet.  They are the lifeline of development. Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs) conserve our biological diversity, preserve our ancient heritage and protect the rights and entitlements of indigenous peoples and communities.

Partnerships need to be equitable and balanced for cultural, social, environmental and economic well-being. The principle of free prior and informed consent must be applied.

Globalize local actions; replicate and scale-up/out what has proven successful in addressing challenges on biodiversity conservation, food security, sustainable livelihoods, ancient heritage preservation and indigenous culture recognition.

Once we realize that we are all interconnected, respecting everyone’s human rights we can work together to get humanity back on to a good path.  We belong to this one earth, we can all live well and have everything that is required for life if we are thankful and have respect for that which is provided.”

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