Darwin, Australia – A small yet strategic group comprising 10 delegates from countries such as Iran, Philippines, Nepal, Pakistan, Taiwan, Zimbabwe and Australia associated with ICCA Consortium participated in the first World Indigenous Network (WIN) Indigenous and Local Communities Land and Sea Mangers’ Conference, May 26-30 in Darwin, Australia. Darwin is a ‘country’ of Larrakia nation, also known as ‘Saltwater People’ who are aboriginal traditional custodians of all land and waters of the greater Darwin region. Hosting of this conference in the country of Larrakia peoples is symptomatic of respect and recognition of strong connections to land and sea, and the conservation stewardship of aboriginal peoples in the Northern Territory of Australia.
This historic conference of connecting Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities engaged in land and sea management, sharing stories and practical experiences around the world gathered more than 1200 participants from around 50 different countries. In addition to indigenous peoples and local communities this also included, civil society organizations, conservation NGOs, practitioners, rangers, scientists, researchers, academicians, and activists across generations, cultures, regions and continents. There was a significant presence and visibility of aboriginal elders (including women) at conference.
The idea behind this momentous gathering for international knowledge sharing network of indigenous land and sea mangers was conceived and transpired in a beach of Kimberly region in Western Australia during a dialogue between two key individuals; environment minister of the federal Australian Government, Tony Burke and Wyene Bergmann, CEO Kred enterprise and an advocate of aboriginal peoples rights from the Kimberly. It eventually gained momentum and was formerly launched by Australian premier, Julia Gillard during Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, 2012 at Rio de Janeiro in partnership with New Zealand, Brazil and Norway.
The conference hosted series of key note speeches, plenary sessions, paper presentations by participants as well as creative cultural and musical performances, exhibition of art and crafts by aboriginal peoples of Australia. For detailed information about WIN Conference please visit http://www.worldindigenousnetwork.net
James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples during his key note speech on May 27, 2013 noted that the WIN “…is to celebrate the stewardship of Indigenous Peoples’ over their lands and seas and to strengthen that stewardship for the benefits of all…….” He also acknowledged the strength of WIN gathering of marking
“…a worldwide movement of Indigenous Peoples to highlight their strong connections to ancestral territories and waters and ever greater recognition by governments and international community of the importance of these connections”.