The international network of indigenous and local community land and sea managers has become an official part of the United Nations after the Australian Government handed its management to the Equator Initiative.
The international network will be hosted and managed through the Equator Initiative of the United Nations Development Programme which seeks to support the work of Indigenous and local community land and sea managers around the world by building their capacity.
The initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.
Mr Tony Burke, Environment Minister of Australia, announced the handover at the on-going World Indigenous Network (WIN) Conference in Darwin, Australia.
The conference being attended by about 1,500 delegates from over 50 countries including Ghana would share stories, knowledge, cultural experiences and ideas to better manage ecosystems, protect the environment, and support sustainable livelihoods.
Mr Burke said, “Details of how the International network will work are still being determined by land and sea managers and others, but I am pleased that the Equator Initiative has embraced the Australian Government’s vision for the World Indigenous Network”.
“The WIN will create opportunities to recognise and celebrate the traditions and knowledge of Indigenous peoples and local communities and the value of marrying these traditions with best available science, in the interest of healthy environments and the creation of economic opportunities for Indigenous communities,” he said.
Dr Veerle Vandeweerd, Director of the UNDP Environment and Energy Group, said the UNDP recognised and embraces its responsibility to learn from what was working on the ground and to assist governments in the process of taking local and indigenous community successes to scale.
“It is our hope that other governments and donors will follow Australia’s lead and join us in delivering on the potential of WIN. We are grateful and honored to be entrusted with Secretariat of the WIN” she said.
The World Indigenous Network was launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) in Brazil last year.
By Albert Oppong-Ansah