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Protected: Launching the Indigenous Learning Platform

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A new generation of Indigenous leaders to promote rights and an alternate vision of development

Expert Degree empowers 44 Indigenous community leaders from Latin America to create and support agendas for change

The FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC-IF) supported the 16th edition of the Course: Expert Degree in Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights, and International Cooperation for Indigenous leaders in Latin America offered by the Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC) through the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. 

Strong Indigenous leadership is essential for community development. The students who attended the course will become part of a new generation of global leaders who will provide solutions to protect Mother Earth, rooted in their cosmovision, ancestral knowledge, and innovation.

The future of the whole planet depends on the future of Indigenous Peoples. 

The course provided participants with training to assume responsibilities and leadership roles in the design and creation of national public policies to defend and protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights. In addition to leadership and capacity development, the Expert Degree promoted community and knowledge exchange around to the common values among the Indigenous students and awareness of shared challenges. 

Myrna Cunningham, Vice President of the board of FILAC, explained, “we have tried to promote a new intercultural higher education model which combines, in a very respectful way, the knowledge of our Indigenous Peoples with the knowledge of modern science together, and innovate, through a constructive dialogue, solutions to respond to the barriers which keep our peoples oppressed and discriminated against.”  

Francisco Souza, Managing Director of the FSC-IF, emphasized why Indigenous leadership is so important. “Less than 5% of the population of the planet manages almost 50% of the territory. And this 50% of the territory has been extremely effective in protecting Mother Earth. Here we are talking about 70% of the planet’s native forests…Indigenous Peoples are important in proposing solutions to challenges we face in different parts of the planet.” 

Scholarships funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Anne Deruyttere Foundation, the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the FSC Indigenous Foundation allowed 44 students to attend this course, including 25 Indigenous women leaders. The FSC-IF supported nine students from different Indigenous Peoples organizations in Bolivia, Guatemala, and Panama. 

“These topics deepen knowledge related to the human rights of Indigenous Peoples to achieve an alternative vision of more human development,” said Enrique Obaldia Pérez of the Guna People of Panama, one of the students supported by the FSC-IF. 

Listen to him discuss the importance of learning about the colonization of power, of being and knowing, intercultural education, multilingualism, development of identity, racism, and of living well.  

“I will continue to strengthen this knowledge which I consider a way to keep the essence of our true identity as Indigenous Peoples alive,” said Liria Elizabeth Tay Ajquill of the Maya Kaqchikel People of Guatemala, another student supported by the FSC-IF. 

Watch Liria’s video on how knowledge can lead to increased visibility of Indigenous Peoples and societies where collective rights and identity are respected and protected. 

Read more testimonies of previous graduates here.  

At FSC-IF we believe that Indigenous Peoples and their organizations have the capacity and should have access to the right tools and skills to be able to defend their rights, territories and livelihoods and achieve their vision of development. The FSC-IF and its Program the Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD) work to strengthen the capacities of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations through the development of leadership, planning, management, organizational, technical, and negotiation skills, as well as the capacities of other stakeholders in Indigenous issues.  

Watch the closing ceremony of the 16th edition of the Expert Degree here

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Introducing the second season of the podcast “Indigenous Voices”

Indigenous leaders discuss traditional knowledge, successful Indigenous businesses, and Indigenous women's rights.

On the International Day of Indigenous Peoples on August 9, the FSC Indigenous Foundation launched the podcast “Indigenous Voices” to recognize the global value of Indigenous Peoples, their rights, livelihoods, territories, and natural capital. In the episodes, we have conversations with Indigenous leaders to listen and learn from their experiences, knowledge, opinions, and analyses related to the global issues we face as human beings.

Listen to the first season here.

In the second season, we learn more about Indigenous women’s challenges, rights, and victories. We also learn about the role of traditional knowledge in the fight against climate change and the values, principles, and lessons that have made Indigenous businesses successful. This season features leaders and experts from Taiwan, Panama, the United States, and Kenya.

Episode 5 – A sustainable future for all

In the fifth episode of “Indigenous Voices,” Su Hsin, Indigenous civil engineer and human rights advocate of the Taiwan Papora Indigenous Development Association, discusses the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples in Asia in securing their rights. She highlights the importance of involving Indigenous women and youth in the effort to ensure a sustainable future for all.

From her experience in risk management, Su explains how traditional knowledge can help combat the crises humanity is facing, especially the effects of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As an Indigenous civil engineer, I know how to build a safe environment for the people. I use my traditional knowledge which I learned from my ancestors, and legends and stories, to know which places around the mountains and rivers are dangerous to build.” Su Hsin

Listen to the fifth episode here. 

Episode 6 – Women changing the world

In this episode, Aulina Ismare Opua, first elected cacica of the Wounaan People of Panama, discusses the situation of Indigenous women in Panama and Latin America, their participation in national and international leadership roles, and the importance of generating female empowerment initiatives that strengthen the capacities of Indigenous organizations.

Aulina will share the story of how she became the first woman cacica of the Wounaan People, the responsibilities and challenges this represents in her life, and her projects to strengthen the participation of Indigenous youth and women in Panama.

“We are going to represent, we are going to make Indigenous women visible in the future: today, tomorrow, and forever.” Aulina Ismare Opua

Listen to the sixth episode here (in Spanish).

Episode 7 – Education towards women’s empowerment

In the seventh episode of “Indigenous Voices,” Agnes Leina of the Samburu People, Director of Il’laramatak Community Concerns and Gender Coordinator of IPACC, shares the reality of Indigenous women and girls in Kenya.

Agnes highlights the need for changes in communities that allow for better education, more opportunities for women, and the need to fight against female genital mutilation. In order to eradicate violence against Indigenous girls and women, Agnes states that it is necessary for women to be leaders in their communities so decisions will be made in favor of Indigenous women and girls.

Examining the root causes of gender-based violence, Agnes discusses the climate crisis that causes droughts and the shortage of food and water generated by the COVID crisis.

“Women need to sit in political leadership positions, and once they are there, they are able to make decisions. If you are not at the decision-making table, what do you expect? Unless you are at that table, everything will be decided and you will be left behind.” Agnes Leina

Listen to the seventh episode here.

Episode 8 – Succesful Indigenous companies

In the eighth episode of “Indigenous Voices,” we speak with Derik Frederiksen, director of FSC USA and member of the Tsm’syen People of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia.

Derik will tell us about his experience in forest conservation, his first experience of climate change, and his commitment to advancing Indigenous rights and culture to protect ancestral homelands.

He also speaks about Sealaska, an Indigenous company located in Southeast Alaska that works for and on behalf of the communities in the area.

“The decisions that we make as a People and as a company have largely been with the mindset: Whatever activity we do, whatever endeavor we embark in, we look at it through the lens that we want to be here for at least the next 13 thousand years. Derik Frederiksen

Listen to the eighth episode here.

Music and sound identity

The music for “Indigenous Voices” was developed to show the global diversity and current identity of Indigenous Peoples, combining traditional and technological elements.

A full musical piece was composed for this podcast, entitled “Pueblos.” The composition is in the key of E minor as this tonality is one of the most used by Indigenous Peoples around the world. The main melodies have a modal character with a strong influence from pentaphony. They are played by a duo of “ngoni,” a West African stringed instrument whose timbre is similar to the harp, lute, banjo, and birimbao.

The composition also features a vocal section that combines male and female singers, strengthening the sense of multiplicity and wholeness. The voices sing the word “Peoples” in different languages, including Indigenous languages: 

nonampi (Asháninka), iwi (Maorí), ol-orere (Maasai), vezahka (Sapmi), peoples (English), pueblos (Spanish), povos (Portuguese)

This mix is intended to reinforce the idea of the wholeness of Indigenous Peoples without losing sight of the particularity of each Peoples’ identity.

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The FSC Indigenous Foundation promotes Indigenous-based solutions at COP27

We strengthened partnerships with and for Indigenous Peoples to confront and mitigate the global climate crisis.

portait indigenous woman of the world - COP27

Sharm, El Sheik, Egypt. The FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC-IF) participated in the 27th edition of the United Nations Summit of the Parties on Climate Change (COP27) held on November 6 to 18, 2022, at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Based on the importance of Indigenous Peoples, their territories, and their traditional knowledge and practices for the conservation of forests, biodiversity and resources, the FSC Indigenous Foundation promoted events seeking the recognition of Indigenous Peoples as agents of change and main actors regarding global solutions to the climate crisis.

The FSC Indigenous Foundation also encouraged multi-sector collaboration, seeking partnerships and bringing together different stakeholders to identify and promote Indigneous-based solutions to global challenges.

Additionally, we worked to empower a new generation of Indigenous leaders who will boost the Indigenous climate action to combat the challenges of climate change and determine a different course of action for the future of the planet.

From proposal to direct action

The following is a summary of the main events of the agenda. 

Side Event: From 1.7 Billion Commitment To Action: An African Indigenous Agenda for the Implementation of Indigenous-Led Climate Solutions and Indigenous Financing

portait participants of side event Side Event: From 1.7 Billion Commitment To Action: An African Indigenous Agenda for the Implementation of Indigenous-Led Climate Solutions and Indigenous Financing - COP27

The FSC Indigenous Foundation and its allies in Africa, the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC) and the Network of Indigenous and Local Populations for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPALEAC), co-organized a side event on November 8 in the Indigenous Pavilion at COP27 to discuss the Indigenous Financing Plan proposed by Forest Tenure Funders Group (FTFG) to be implemented in Africa as part of the continuation of the 1.7 billion commitment for Indigenous Peoples, which had been announced at COP26.

This plan will constitute a pilot that will determine the implementation of this mechanism on a global scale.

“Any solution to the climate crisis must include Indigenous Peoples as active partners. We are here to seek solutions and work together.”
Francisco Souza, Managing Director of the FSC Indigenous Foundation.

Side Event:  Building a Multisectoral Mechanism together with Indigenous Peoples towards the Implementation of the 1.7 Billion Pledge for Forest Conservation

participants of side event Building a Multisectoral Mechanism together with Indigenous Peoples towards the Implementation of the 1.7 Billion Pledge for Forest Conservation - COP27

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the FSC Indigenous Foundation co-organized this side event, held on November 16 at the US Center, to to discuss how climate change disproportionately impacts Indigenous Peoples and identify ways of integration and collaboration with Indigeous Peoples to achieve common goals to move forward with the implementation of the Forest Tenure Pledge.

Panelists concluded that for climate finance to reach Indigenous Peoples and local communities directly, it will be necessary to develop and agree on transparent and efficient mechanisms, not only determined by donors and partners but in close consultation with Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

“There is not someone else telling us about climate impacts, we are experiencing it directly. It is better to focus our energy on how we can resolve it and bring hope back home.”
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, AFPAT and FSC-IF Council member.

Side Event:  Indigenous Women Leading the Climate Change Agenda from their Ancestral Knowledge and Traditional Practices

participants of side event Indigenous Women Leading the Climate Change Agenda from their Ancestral Knowledge and Traditional Practices - COP27

On November 11 in the Green Zone at COP27, Indigenous women from Africa, Mesoamerica, and South America presented local examples of why Indigenous women are key agents leading climate change agendas with their ancestral knowledge and traditional practices. The event was organized by the FSC Indigenous Foundation, the Coordinator of Territorial Women Leaders of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC), and TINTA.

Indigenous women, youth, and girls have been disproportionately impacted by climate change, even if they use, manage and conserve community territories consisting of more than 50% of the world’s land.

“Indigenous women’s traditional knowledge is part of the solution.”
Fany Kuiru of OPIAC.

Capacity Development Center Event: Integrating Indigenous Peoples into the NDC Process through Capacity Development

participants of side event Integrating Indigenous Peoples into the NDC Process through Capacity Development - COP27

Held on November 16 in the Capacity Development Center at COP27, this event provided the opportunity to discuss  the key strategies to foster capacity development of Indigenous Peoples and communities to promote their participation and contribution on initiatives and projects aiming for the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) goals.

For this event, the FSC Indigenous Foundation, the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), Association for Research and Integral Development (AIDER), and Ecosphere+ convened a group of experts to highlight cases in Costa Rica and Peru where Indigenous communities are effectively participating in carbon markets, and discuss key strategies for capacity building for Indigenous Peoples and communities. 

The FSC-IF seeks to elevate Indigenous Peoples’ contributions towards the protection of Mother Earth, as a means to be recognized as providers of inclusive, holistic and cultural solutions focused on diversity in global changes.

“Mechanisms should be participatory and socialized with Indigenous Peoples and leaders. It is important to have information before making decisions that involve our territories and resources.”
Berlin Diques, Regional Organisation AIDESEP Ucayali (ORAU)

The FSC Indigenous Foundation builds partnerships with and for Indigenous Peoples worldwide

Solutions to the climate crisis require collaboration from different sectors, especially Indigenous Peoples, who have been the world’s nature-based solution providers for thousands of years. 

For this reason, the FSC Indigenous Foundation is engaging with different sectors to identify and promote Indigenous-based solutions to global challenges. At COP27, we signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Network of Indigenous and Local Communities for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPALEAC), the Indigenous Peoples Coordinating Committee of Africa (IPACC), the Ogiek Peoples Development Program, and Health in Harmony to advance Indigenous-led solutions, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and Indigenous self-development. 

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