Indigenous Peoples from Peru, Kenya and Brazil Receive Fellowship to Demonstrate Application of Traditional Knowledge In Conservation; Fellows to combine traditional and scientific solutions to address climate change impact
Arlington, VA — Today Conservation International announced
Zenón Gomel Apaza from Peru, Ikal Angelei from Kenya and Diana Nascimento from
Brazil as the new recipients of its Indigenous and Traditional Peoples
Conservation Fellowship. This is the second group of fellowships for indigenous
leaders granted by Conservation International (CI) and the Secretariat of the
Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), since the fellowship was launched in
"Indigenous people have first-hand knowledge of the direct impacts of climate
change on their way of life," said Kristen Walker Painemilla, Vice
President of Social Policy and Practice at Conservation International.
'Zenón, Ikal and Diana have an opportunity to work with their communities and
use traditional knowledge to demonstrate solutions to the impacts of climate
change and the threats to their lands, communities and livelihoods."
Over the course of the year-long program, these fellows will design projects
that incorporate their traditional knowledge to address the effects of climate
change and biodiversity loss. They will work on issues related to water scarcity
and management, climate resilient agriculture and restoration of traditional
lands. In addition to receiving funding for these projects, each fellow receives
funding for professional development that will in turn increase the knowledge
base for their communities.
The 2011 recipients included four fellows from Fiji, Guatemala, Chad, and the
Democratic Republic of Congo. They completed projects ranging from research on
traditional land management practices to climate change adaptation techniques in
semi-arid regions to alternative livelihoods for coastal communities. The 2011
fellows included a recipient of the prestigious 2006 Equator Prize, awarded
every two years for excellence in sustainable development by the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP)
"Conservation organizations are great at seeing the big picture, but
sometimes their missions do not always address the immediate needs a community
or person has to survive," Angelei said. "Conservation International’s
fellowship program allows myself and the other fellows to take our traditional
knowledge and combine it with scientific information in order to show the
benefits for which comes from conserving healthy biodiversity."
Ikal Angelei is an indigenous activist from the Lake Turkana
region of Kenya. Through her volunteer work on community development, she
developed a strong interest in sustainable development. In November of 2008,
Angelei left her previous job in the banking sector and founded Friends of Lake
Turkana, a Community Trust that promotes Environmental Justice, Resource Rights
and Community Rights within the Lake Turkana Basin.
A farmer from the rural community of the Pucara region of Peru, Zenon
Gomel Apaza is also a PhD student in natural sciences for development
and is the only Peruvian to win the Rolex Award for Enterprise for environmental
issues. He founded the non-profit organization Asociación Savia Andina Pucará
(ASAP) 15 years ago, which works to develop measures to strengthen the
capacities of indigenous peasant communities in Andean agriculture and to
protect the biodiversity in the region.
Diana Nascimento is an indigenous student from the Paraná
state of Brazil. She is currently completing her degree in Environmental
Management, with a focus on coastal environmental management at the Federal
University of Paraná. She was awarded a seat at the Federal University of
Paraná-UFPR, which offers seven seats for indigenous students from all over
"It is essential to support indigenous peoples in their efforts to address
the impacts of climate change," Walker said. "They feel the strongest impacts
and their solutions now can provide lessons for us later."
About Conservation International (CI) — Building upon a
strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers
societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global
biodiversity, for the long term well-being of people. Founded in 1987 and
marking its 25th anniversary in 2012, CI has headquarters in the Washington DC
area, and 900 employees working in nearly 30 countries on four continents, plus
1,000+ partners around the world. For more information, please visit at www.conservation.org, or on Facebook or Twitter.