Creating opportunities for indigenous leaders and scholars to explore solutions to the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Strong leadership and technical skills are essential elements of land stewardship and community development, and critical to policy engagement. Therefore, Conservation International (CI) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) have joined together to sponsor the Indigenous & Traditional Peoples Conservation Fellowship. This fellowship will provide opportunities for leaders and scholars from indigenous and traditional peoples communities and organizations to explore solutions to the impacts of climate change and the threats to ecosystems and biodiversity that are affecting their lands, communities and livelihoods.
It is essential to support indigenous peoples, local communities and their representative organizations in their efforts to build their capacity in these areas; increased capacity fosters the knowledge and skills required to engage in all aspects of ecosystem health and development, from local to global action.
Indigenous peoples' knowledge together with biodiversity and climate-related science can help communities face increasing threats on their lands and territories and confront the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. This year long fellowship aims to provide space for dialogue to respect, recognize and incorporate traditional knowledge in local efforts and take advantage of the scientific information available at many institutions and universities.
2013 – 2014 Fellowship Information
Since 2009, The Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Program of Conservation International has announced two calls for fellows under the "Indigenous Leaders Conservation Fellowship," with the aim of strengthening the capacity of individuals and their organizations on topics such as climate change, biodiversity and management of conservation areas, among others.
With the experience gained from the last two rounds of the fellowship program, it has been decided to focus the geographic target areas of the fellowship. The Amazon Basin, East Africa and Asia indigenous peoples will have the opportunity to participate in the 2013 – 2014 fellowship call.
The Asia and Amazon Basin programs have two categories candidates may apply for:
- Biodiversity Conservation, which includes: management of community conserved lands/indigenous territory/community managed marine areas, traditional knowledge, or issues surrounding access and benefits sharing.
- Climate Change, which includes: community efforts to engage in ecosystem based adaptation, or the role forests play in climate change mitigation.
The East Africa program has four categories candidates may apply for:
- Food Security
- Climate Change Adaptation
How to Apply
The deadline for the 2013 fellowship application is August 9, 2013. Please include the following information in the application packet:
- CV of the applicant
- A nomination letter from the sponsoring community and/or indigenous organization
- A letter from the applicant explaining his/her interest in the fellowship, chosen theme, proposed program of work/need and how his/her work will contribute to his/her community
- A completed application form:
The selection committee will interview finalists the weeks of August 26 – 30, 2013. The fellowship winner will be announced on September 2, 2013 and fellows will begin on or after October 1, 2013 as appropriate.
Last year, three fellows were chosen from more than 140 applications. They came from around the world, and brought a diversity of experience, knowledge and culture to the program. The 2012 fellows were:
Zenón Gomel Apaza, a small farmer in the rural community of Pucara, in the Puno region of Peru. He speaks Quechua and Spanish, and has a MS in Agroecology with a major in biodiversity and rural Andean agriculture, and also a MA in sustainable community development. Mr. Gomel Apaza is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in natural sciences for development with an emphasis on agricultural production systems. With the non-profit organization Asociación Savia Andina Pucará (ASAP), which he founded more than 15 years ago, he is developing measures to strengthen the capacities of indigenous peasant communities in Andean agriculture, the protection of biodiversity and the environment. ASAP is also working on generating proposals for policy guidelines based on traditional knowledge to incorporate into policies on regional and national climate change issues. For these efforts in 2006, Zenón Gomel Apaza was awarded a Rolex Award for Enterprise, under the environmental issues theme, so far the only Peruvian who has earned the award.
Ikal Angelei, an indigenous activist from the Lake Turkana region of Kenya. She speaks four languages and has a MA in Public Policy. After completion of her undergraduate studies, she was employed in the in the banking sector, but at the same time embarked on small community activities working with her ethic community on issues of education and women's education. With a growing interest in seeing the sustainable growth of her ethnic community, Ms. Angelei expanded her interest in the region to include neighboring communities and expand the focus of her involvement into natural resources and environmental justice. With this newfound passion, Ms. Angelei founded Friends of Lake Turkana, a Community Trust that was established in November 2008 and registered through the Trust Act in October 2009. Its focus is to promote Environmental Justice, Resource Rights and Community Rights within the Lake Turkana Basin. In this regard, FoLT focuses on increasing Lake Turkana basin communities' participation in environmental policy protection, sustainable management and use of natural resources as well as increased participation of communities' in the development and governance of their resources.
Diana Nascimento, a young indigenous student from the Paraná state of Brazil. She is currently completing her degree in Environmental Management, with a focus on costal environmental management. She was awarded a seat at the Federal University of Paraná-UFPR, which offers seven seats for indigenous students from all over Brazil. After graduation, she intends to return to her community with the scientific knowledge she has gained at university and work in conjunction with the traditional knowledge she and her community already possess to contribute to environmental and cultural enhancement of the Kaingang peoples.