Collaborative efforts between government, diplomats, policy makers and the indigenous or local leaders can lead to effective and sustainable policies, capacity building of the IPLC
Studies have suggested that capacitating indigenous people and communities to devise and undertake Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in their landscapes can play an effective role in natural resources management, conservation, and climate change mitigation. Through the promotion of sustainable forestry to support the global goal of the Paris Agreement and to limit global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius, indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs) can play a vital role in reducing 30% carbon emissions by 2030 (Seddon et al, 2019). The IPLCs also apply their traditional knowledge and work with nature to address societal challenges, wellbeing, and conservation. While these traditional practices often meet the criteria of NbS (IUCN Guidelines for NbS, 2020), these communities are still struggling to protect their rights to govern their land and seascapes, preserve their cultural heritage and pursue their conservation efforts.
In 2019 at the Climate Action Summit identified four priority areas for members of the NbS coalition. Co-led by China and New Zealand, the NbS coalition has been launched with the support of more than 70 governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations. The priority areas are 1) increasing and mainstreaming NbS in national governance, climate action, and policy; 2) enhancing regional and international cooperation; 3) creating the necessary shifts in domestic and international governance and funding to assess the potential of NbS, and 4) scaling-up NbS to ensure livelihoods in the face of climatic threats.
These guidelines can facilitate the IPLCs NbS activities in different parts of the world, however, there are challenges in the implementation of NbS with indigenous people due to; political uncertainty; knowledge and research gaps; lack of policy instrumentation; and financing mechanisms etc. (Townsend et al, 2020).
It is of utmost importance to build the capacity of the indigenous people for ensuring NbS related development, with emphasis on science-based education and technological innovations. Moreover, empowering these communities can help them to raise their voice and can directly involve them to create policies, proposals, and actions at the local, national, and international levels for protecting indigenous rights.
According to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in most of the developing countries, capacity building needs are combined with its key elements including education, training, institutional capacity, public awareness, research and technology development (Khan et al, 2020). Various development partners, research institutions, governments and NGOs are also working on different capacity building programs (especially related to climate change adaptation) including training, short courses, graduate programmes, workshops, conferences, and building research hubs.
However, there has been no capacity-building program for indigenous people on NbS. The Mexican government has already committed in their NDC to build their IPLCs capacity to involve in the policy-making process. Countries such as Nepal, St Vincent and Grenadines, are working to build educational capacity for local farmers through implementation of farmer schools, and including traditional techniques to their educational curriculum.
However, there is still a need to enhance the capacity of IPLCs in national policy processes and to implement them at the local level. IPLCs have a strong connection with their landscapes and seascapes, and their culture and traditions are closely tied and rooted with nature. Thus, when working with NbS indigenous and traditional knowledge has to be prioritized to develop and strengthen these nature-based practices.
Collaboration, coalition and involvement with different actors are also part and parcel for effective management and implementation of NbS. It is essential to realize that many grassroots partners in developing countries require the skills to write and negotiate to ensure their rights through knowledge and advocacy. This would allow them to raise their concerns and involve in developing relevant policy, proposals, and actions at the local, national, and international levels.
Collaborative efforts between government, diplomats, policy makers and the indigenous or local leaders can lead to effective and sustainable policies, capacity building of the IPLC. Thus, establishing a common platform and strengthening existing networks for effective local and global networking and collaboration with relevant actors at various fronts can foster knowledge exchange and enhance sustainable NbS initiatives. Besides, mapping and linking stakeholders can support synergic actions and avoid misunderstanding.
In addition, an effective communication system with global experts can be used to define a proper framework for NbS implementation by the IPLCs. Global networks of researchers and practitioners often provide expert guidance on effective biodiversity conservation and natural resources management for sustainable development.
However, the importance of systematic communication and multi-stakeholder involvement in NbS policies requires further actions (Cohen-Shacham et al, 2019). Thus, IPLCs capacity building to design and implement NbS can be strengthened by ensuring systematic communication with multi-actor partnerships including scientists, planners, government, private sector, NGO, and development entities.
Finally, the capacity building, collaboration and communication initiatives can be fortified with evidence-based research, technological innovation, advocacy, and sustainable financing to scale up NbS, IPLCs rights, and conservation efforts. The active participation of indigenous representatives from all over the world will also help in the development of global policy, as they have a strong connection with nature.
Mahmuda Akter is currently working as a Research Officer at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD).
Dr Ali Mohammad Rezaie is currently working as the Research Coordinator of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD).