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Twenty-five initiatives were awarded the Equator Prize in September 2008, from a total pool of 310 nominations from 70 nations. The selection criteria included Impact, reducing poverty through conservation of biodiversity; Partnerships, linking many stakeholders; Sustainability, at least 3 years of successful and lasting socio-economic changes; Innovation, new and adaptable approaches implemented; Leadership and Community Empowerment, leadership that has inspired action and change; Gender Equality, where social and cultural diversity and gender equality has been incorporated.

Two of the 2008 prize winners:
In Sri Lanka, the Community Development Centre conserves nearly 60 indigenous varieties of roots and yams to generate income for over 300 households.

In Ecuador, the Union of Farming and Indigenous Organizations of Cotacachi, an organisation of 3,225 Quichua families, focuses on the re-introduction of traditional crops and medicinal plants and the maintenance of traditional cultural practices. As a result, incomes have risen substantially. www.equatorinitiative.org

5-14 OCTOBER 2008

The IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) is the world's largest conservation event. The congress aims to improve how people manage their natural environment for human, social and economic development. More than 8,000 professionals will discuss solutions for the world's most pressing environment and development issues. A range of innovations will be showcased at the congress, including community and local initiatives, and solutions based on traditional and  indigenous knowledge.

Throughout the world, innovative sustainable development initiatives are underway in government, civil society and the private sector. The WCC will focus on bringing out the latest developments regarding biocultural diversity. Several workshops, field trips, receptions, film screenings and knowledge cafes will focus on cultural and spiritual development. They will be presented, amongst others, by: the World Commission of Protected Areas; Christensen Fund; Gaia Foundation; Society for Conservation Biology; and the Delos Initiative. Participation in the four-day IUCN World Conservation Congress Forum is open to all. Registration for the congress runs online with pre-registration discounts until 25 September 2008. The WCC will take place from 5 to 14 October, 2008, in the Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB) Spain.

For more information: www.iucn.org


The WIPC:E 2008 will be held on the traditional lands of the Kulin Nation, Melbourne, Australia. The Conference is an opportunity for Indigenous People to showcase their efforts to provide educational experiences that are suited to their individual and unique communities. The challenge is to balance the learnings from formal systems with traditions. WIPC:E 2008 hopes to explore some of the questions raised by living within competing knowledge systems and look beyond the horizon to where complementary knowledge can be used to shape our own futures. WIPC:E will be hosted by the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc.

For more information: www.wipce2008.com


Mr Bern Y. Guri of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD) presented a paper with the title 'innovative approaches to international education' at the international conference in South Africa organised by the Walter Sisulu University (October 2007).
CIKOD is a member of the COMPAS network and works with traditional institutions in Ghana.



Mr Jayasinghe Perera of Future in Our Hands (FIOH) participated in the 3rd international conference on Gross National Happiness in Thailand, 22-28 November 2007. The name of the conference was 'World Views Make A Difference - Towards Global Transformation'. The conference offered a creative platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue. Gross National Happiness is a challenge to our worldviews and mainstream policy development. It urges to explore new patterns of cooperation across cultures, disciplines, and sectors.

FIOH is a member of the COMPAS network and works on traditional organic agriculture and ethno-veterinary practices in Sri-Lanka

More information: www.gnh-movement.org 



The sixth Commonwealth People Forum was held in Kampala, Uganda from 18 to 22 November 2007. The Commonwealth Peoples Forum takes place every two years immediately before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and provides civil society organisations a chance to dialogue with governments. The theme of the Peoples Forum 2007 was Realising People’s Potential, and 20 workshops were hosted to illustrate this in different ways.

The Cross-cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) and the Commonwealth Secretariat co-organised the workshop on 'Culture in Development: A must for Equitable and Sustainable Transformation'. A number of speakers were invited representing the different regions of the Commonwealth. Professor Millar of the University of Development Studies (UDS) and the Centre for Cosmovision and Indigenous Knowledge (CECIK) represented Africa. Millar: 'This is the first time culture is on the map of the Commonwealth and hence they are seeking ways to deal with it. The forum offered me the opportunity to put COMPAS, CAPTURED and my entire interests in culture and development into an international arena.'

Download the workshop report, or the Communiqué to the Commonwealth Heads of Government

More information: www.chogm2007.ug


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