At the request of the Government of Canada, STAP hosted the Science Day at the Seventh GEF Assembly in Vancouver, BC, on Tuesday, 22 August 2023.
The afternoon session of the Science Day explored the contributions Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) are making toward the achievement of global environmental benefits and how to enhance GEF / IPLC cooperation. Professor Eduardo Brondízio’s keynote address reflected on the critical role of IPLCs in safeguarding the biodiversity of our planet, which underscores the importance of working with them to realize our biodiversity and climate goals. This cooperation must respect the values and addresses the needs of communities involved.
The panels on the Arctic and the North (video here) and the Amazon (video here) and the speakers from the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group to the GEF stressed the vital importance of the engagement of indigenous communities in avoiding the tipping point of ecological collapse, noting the extent of the planet’s biodiversity that has been managed sustainably for ages in the hands of indigenous people. Respecting indigenous and local communities will necessitate listening more, learning together using multiple kinds of knowledge, paying greater attention to sustainable use, benefit sharing, and trade-offs, as well as to ensuring these communities have a seat at the table where critical decisions are made. All initiatives must be inclusive from the beginning and seek to build knowledge in a constructive and holistic way.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Angeles Estrada