Géraud

Géraud de Ville

The Open University, Department of Engineering and Innovation
London, UK

Up-Scaling Support for Community Owned Solutions

A Project COBRA Report for Policy Makers

March 6, 2015

Having evaluated the impact of the community identification, recording and sharing process, project COBRA has demonstrated that indigenous community owned solutions can offer practical instruments to address challenges in sustainable development and the management of natural resources. these solutions can be a source of inspiration for other communities, as well as providing an effective and popular intervention for policy makers and governments to support.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 09.51.37We have started a chain reaction that we hope will open opportunities for communities of the Guiana Shield to be the instigators of community empowerment. we have already seen some signs of this; the community of Maturuca is pursuing exchanges with the North Rupununi and have independently organised internships to the North Rupununi to explore ecotourism and learn indigenous languages, while at the same time inviting students to study vegetable growing in their agricultural school. Identifying and sharing community owned solutions constitutes a unique opportunity to find alternative ways of dealing with climate change and complex social and ecological challenges. It also provides one of the most ethically appropriate frameworks for research and ‘development’ projects within indigenous communities. Communities are becoming aware that the solutions to their challenges do not lie exclusively in the hands of professional experts, but also in people just like them.

The onus is now on policy makers at all levels of decision making to strengthen, rather than undermine, community owned solutions. Solutions identified by Indigenous communities are not nice things to study about their past… they are the future which the whole of humanity depends on. Some policy makers have demonstrated vision and are already embracing community owned solutions. We would like to highlight the first major policy success of project COBRA in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding between project COBRA and the Guiana Shield Facility (UNDP), a multi-donor funding facility for the long-term financing of national and regional activities to conserve ecosystems, protect biodiversity, and to sustain livelihoods within the Guiana Shield eco-region.

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