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  African Regional Consultation on the Draft Issues Paper for GEF Indigenous Peoples Policy

By Indigenous Information Network

Indigenous Information Network (IIN) organized a one-day Consultative Workshop on the Draft Issues Paper for the GEF Indigenous Peoples Policy  in Nairobi, Kenya on the 15th October 2011 at the Tumaini Centre. The consultative workshop was attended by twenty (20) participants drawn from diverse Indigenous peoples groups from the continent particularly Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Sudan respectively.

The aims of the consultation were operationalised in a number of activities:
1. Presentation in the meeting
2. Communication and organization of the consultation
3. Formulation and submission of the key inputs/recommendations from the African region to the Indigenous Peoples Task Force.  
Prior to the workshop, the members of the Indigenous Peoples TaskForce on the GEF IP Policy from Africa had undertaken the distribution of the paper across the different networks on the continent through emails and also phone calls for comments/inputs. The inputs generated through this process were then collated and subsequently presented to the meeting participants during the consultative workshop.
During the first session of the workshop, the participants were  introduced to the GEF, its focal areas and the Indigenous Peoples TaskForce. After this, the participants were asked what has been their experience with GEF projects in their area particularly the SGP if they have had any. Based on their contributions, the facilitator of the session, Mr. Saro Pyagbara gave a background to the history of the demand for a GEF IP Policy and why it is needed in the first place.
The second session witnessed the presentation of the issues paper to the participants who were asked to go through it one by one. Edna Kaptoyo, one of the Task Force members from Africa, facilitated this session.
Participants were then invited to note their observations and inputs and present them in the plenary.
Following this, the presentation of the collated comments from different peoples prior to the workshop was also presented. Participants were asked to go through the collated submissions and find areas of common grounds and areas of difference.
Based on this process, the participants were able to distil their contributions in areas of convergence and divergence on  the issues paper by providing inputs and recommendations.

The participants were further divided into groups. The first group examined the areas of divergence , the second group looked at new elements that needed to be included in the draft whilst the third group looked further at the definitions.

These groups presented their submissions in a plenary
The summary of these submissions were then separated into key issues and recommendations which formed the African Indigenous peoples inputs into the development of the paper (based on Indigenous Peoples Taskforce August 16 draft) through interventions on the key elements on the agenda in the meeting.
The most important lessons from the  project identified was the need for a long term approach and continuity.
The consultation was done at quite a short notice but the quality of the participation was indeed high. To the extent we stressed that time  is very  necessary in order for more consultation to be undertaken at the regional level  when the draft policy is out , that is to be actively supported by the Indigenous peoples in the communities.
Another important lesson at the workshop was the issue of strengthening of communication, education and public awareness as these were  cited as crucial for people to really understand GEF and its programme areas.

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