EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: What’s in it for indigenous peoples and local communities?

28 October 2020

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EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: What’s in it for indigenous peoples and local communities?

The webinar took place on 19 November 2020 – 9h-13h Brussels time


Recordings of the  event with interpretation  in English, French, Spanish and Russian are available.


Faced with the urgent need to restore biodiversity and reduce the effects of the climate crisis, international institutions are focusing on extending protected areas.

In its 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, the European Commission proposes to transform at least 30% of Europe's land and sea into protected areas. Biodiversity will also receive greater attention at the international level. With the NaturAfrica initiative, the Commission vows to protect nature in Africa while promoting the role of non-state actors and Indigenous groups in this process. But how will Indigenous Peoples and local communities be involved?

Many examples show that upholding territorial rights and enabling local communities to manage their land is the best strategy to protect biodiversity, but land grabbing, the human impacts of conservation projects and abuses by eco-guards continue to make headlines. There are thus increasing calls for a radical change in the design and management of conservation programmes. What nature conservation model will the EU develop for 2030?

Ahead of EU Biodiversity Strategy discussions, this conference brought together representatives of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Russia, NGOs, European Commission officials, and MEPs.

French, Spanish and Russian version of the conference are also available.


Members of the European Parliament (MEPs):

  • Michèle Rivasi, Greens/EFA, France
  • María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Renew Europe, Spain
  • Marc Tarabella, S&D, Belgium

NGOs: Docip, Fern, Survival International

9h00-9h30: Introduction

  • "Opening words"
    – Michèle Rivasi, MEP
  • "The invention of green colonialism"
    – Guillaume Blanc, Environmental historian, specialist of contemporary Africa and lecturer at University of Rennes 2

9h30–10h30: Impact on indigenous and local communities

Moderation by Marc Tarabella, MEP

  • Indigenous communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
    – Joseph Itongwa, Native Walikale from the province of North Kivu, founder of Réseau des Populations Autochtones et Locales pour la Gestion Durable des Ecosystèmes Forestiers de la RDC (REPALEF)  sub-regional coordinator of Réseau des Populations Autochtones et Locales pour la Gestion des Ecosystèmes Forestiers d'Afrique Centrale (REPALEAC), DRC
  • The riparian populations of Virunga National Park: challenges, limits and future
    – Delcasse Lukumbu, Congolese activist and member of Lucha RDC, Congolese citizen movement, DRC
  • The impact of militarised and undemocratic nature conservation on Indigenous Peoples and forest dwellers in tiger reserves and other protected areas in India"
    – Pranab Doley, Indigenous activist of the Mising people, Kaziranga, India
  • Testimonies from Latin America
    – Lola Cabnal, Area de Incidencia en Politicas; Asociación Ak Tenamit, Guatemala
  • How does the European Union ensure respect for Indigenous rights?
    – Chiara Adamo, Head of Unit for Gender, Human Rights and Democratic Governance, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission

10h30–11h30: Recommendations and priorities from indigenous peoples and local communities

Moderation by María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, MEP

  • Environment, women's rights and nomadic peoples
    – Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Association des femmes peules et peuples autochtones du Tchad (AFPAT), Chad
  • Ending Green Colonialism
    – Mordecai Ogada, conservationist, Kenya
  • Recognition of the customary rights of Indigenous Peoples over Indonesian forests
    – Rukka Sombolinggi, Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN), Indonesia
  • Experiences of the round table with experts and representatives of Indigenous Peoples
    – Luisa Ragher, Head of Division Human Rights, European External Action Service (EEAS)

11h30–12h30: What model for biodiversity?

Moderation by Michèle Rivasi, MEP

  • Why we must defend the Siberian forest and the rights of the inhabitants of the Far North and East of the country
    – Rodion Sulyandziga, Director of the Center for support of indigenous peoples of the North (CSIPN) 
  • Nature conservation, militarisation and human rights violations: the role of international donors
    – Simon Counsell, former director of Rainforest Foundation UK and currently advisor to Survival International
  • Enhancing the capacities ofIndigenous Peoples and Local Communities as stewards of nature
    – Herbert Lust, Vice President and Managing Director of Conservation International Europe
  • Priorities of the EU’s biodiversity strategy at international level
    – Chantal Marijnissen, Head of Unit, Environment, Natural Resources, Water, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission

12H30–13H00: Wrap up & conclusions

  • by MEPs Michèle Rivasi and María Soraya Rodríguez Ramo

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