This community sharing were stories about successful efforts in the development and management of community-based resource management in upholding the principles of sustainable livelihoods. Part of this session focused on the solutions to community problems and how to promote local knowledge or alternative practices.
The following people shared their experiences:
Community Solutions 1
Mariana Lucia Porras Rozas is from Costa Rica and works for COECOCEIBA. Mariana worked in several mapping projects together with the communities living in forest settlements. She has also worked with the indigenous women of the Abrojo Montezuma for their local livelihoods. Mariana shares that in Costa Rica, many peasant families were given land to live and farm through a government initiative. This land would belong to the people after a period of time and within these lands are also forest reserves. Although the forest reserves belong to the government, the peasant community are allowed to stay on the land. These peasant communities have converted many tracts of land into forest and have transformed them for ecological activities like bird watching.
Eleanor Goroh is from the Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS or the Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia). JOAS is the umbrella network for 51 community-based non-governmental organisations that have indigenous peoples’ issues as the focus. As the focal point for indigenous rights and advocacy in Malaysia, JOAS provides the indigenous communities with representation not just nationally but regionally and internationally as well. Eleanor showed a video produced by the youth of a community trained to do community documentaries. The video is part of a new method that is being used to seek support and collaboration from other groups. The video also showed the different capacity building skills acquired by members of the community through the help of NGOs.
Community Solutions 2
Jok Jau Evong is from the Uma Bawang Residents Association, Malaysia and is also from Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s Sarawak Office Coordinator. Originally trained in draughtsmanship, Jok’s fate took a different turn when he decided to lead his village, Uma Bawang in middle Baram, Miri Division, Sarawak in their protest against a logging company in the late 1980s. Jok Jau talked about his experience of being part of a long term struggle and the establishment of the Uma Bawang Residents’ Association (UBRA). UBRA works a lot on reforesting degraded forests. Their are 60 members of UBRA and they have so far cultivated 20,000 trees of different local wood species like meranti, kapur and engkabang. The reforestation project has brought back the wild animals once lost after logging destroyed the place.
Nasiri Sabiah, a Dusun Rumanau from Kg. Alab Lanas, Sook Keningau, from PACOS assisted by Gordon Thomas, Malaysia. Nasiri shared that PACOS has been involved in community empowerment since 1987 although they were formally established in 1997. They do a lot of work on gender awareness wherein the role of women in passing on traditional knowledge to the younger generation is encouraged as they are the knowledge keepers. They also advocate organic and traditional farming and indigenous peoples rights. One of the methods they use in advocating the rights of indigenous peoples is in the management of resources, known as the ‘tagal’ system. The term tagal is a Kadazandusun term which is used for sustainable and traditional fisheries management. Nasiri’s presentation included a video showing of the tagal system.
Sep Galeva is from Papua New Guinea and is the head of Lake Murray’s Kuni tribe. Sep shared the story of the fight which began in the early 2000s in the western province of Papua New Guinea. Sep shared the general lay-out of Papua New Guinea and that of Lake Murray. Ninety seven percent of the land area of Papua New Guinea still is customary land owned by the people. Despite the problems faced in his community, Sep led his people to shun industrial logging and instead adopt community-based forest management as this would improve the livelihoods of the people. Today, the community manages its own forests and now have 3 sawmills. They have just sent their community-managed timber shipment to Australia. The communities have strict codes in the management and logging of the trees and have shared learnings with other islanders.