The morning was dedicated to Africa. Bob Brac (see North Africa contacts page) gave an overview of Africa and the common problems within the continent, and differences with Asia and Latin America. For example, Africa has a poor communication structure for people or groups to communicate with each other. Bob Brac also talked more specifically about North Africa and the expectations that people there have with this conference. One aspect which is sought by people in North Africa is to establish a global network of communities who are concerned about global warming. The changing climate has hit North Africa particularly hard.
Malika Bonfour - Morocco and Salah Ben Béchir Mekdali - Tunisia
Ahmad Najim /Morocco
WolimataThiao / Senegal
Then the participants provided their experiences in Africa, of which a few are mentioned here. The Algeria experience described a desert with an artificial oasis by which means people can live. All crops are grown on the banks of the gulley which receives little and inconsistent amounts of water. Indeed throughout all the North African experiences, water was one of the largest problems for communities.
Indeed, agricultural biodiversity often takes a lower priority for these communities. In Kenya, Joseph Mutura, described the community sacred forests and the influences they have on food security. “Traditional thinking and beliefs have protected the forests, but modern thinking has invaded them”, he said. Sacred forests were also the theme of the Côte d’Ivoire experience in which Martine Touao described the importance of these forests in West Africa. This theme will be covered this afternoon, and we hope to bring you more information about this aspect of biodiversity. Wolimata Thiao described how women in Senegal, now numbering 1500 have managed to recover land which had been destroyed through logging and poor agricultural practices. The key to their success was the empowerment of women.
You can read about all these experiences in more detail by clicking on "cases" above.
Jeanne / Benin
Abèti Thiao / Togo
The afternoon looked at “Tradition vs the modern world: culture, spirituality and biodiversity”. Professor Honorat Aguessy from the Development and Indigenous Exchange Institute in Benin, gave a speech about culture, religions and biodiversity. The full text of this speech is available in French - original version (72kb) and Spanish. (80kb)
Professor Honorat Aguessy / Benin
This was then followed by Or Thy and Prak Thres who presented the experience titled “The roles of the pagoda and the community in natural resources conservation and management in Cambodia”, which you can view here in abstract or full document format.
These presentations was then followed by a talk from Benki, a representative of the indigenous people of Ashaninka. He talked about their respect for all religions in the world and how this respect should be extended back to the Ashaninka people. The Ashaninka also respect nature, water, the trees and the birds, which are their messengers. He also talked about the rituals behind an Ayahuasca drink and its rituals. Click here for more.