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 an 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.