International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples celebrations to focus on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in South Africa

The Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region and the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) will be hosting a celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 17 August 2022.

This celebration/Lekgotla/Xivijo will focus on the community response to the published draft White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable use of South Africa’s Biodiversity by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

As caretakers of the lands, Indigenous people have passed on indigenous knowledge from one generation to another, thereby playing an essential role in the preservation of land, biodiversity, and knowledge. This celebration will thus bring in the voices of traditional leaders and healers in the response to the proposed policy in Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region, Limpopo, South Africa.

Participants to the workshop will include traditional leaders and healers from communities in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces and representatives from the government tasked with implementation of this policy – the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Environment and Tourism, Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs. Additionally, Professor Hassan O.

Kaya principal researcher and director of the Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa will share on experiences across Africa of the role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, African Rural Women in Bio-cultural Diversity Conservation for climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation.

The primary goal of this workshop is to bring together all these entities to Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region to:

Voice their opinions and inputs on the recent Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment White Paper,
Collect a concerted voices as to the presented goals for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity espoused in this paper,
Expand the meaning of the role of traditional healers and leaders in the implementation of this policy,
Accentuate the role that indigenous women play towards the implementation of this policy,
Draft a response letter on this draft White Paper by 9 September 2022 to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment based on discussion outcomes of this community workshop.

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