11 countries attend global
conference to map out indigenous

One hundred participants from 11 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are attending a four-day global conference on participatory mapping of indigenous areas.

The conference is being held by the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) in cooperation with the Indigenous Peoples' International Center for Policy Research and Education (Tebtebba) on Samosir Island, Toba Lake, North Sumatra, from Sunday to Wednesday.

AMAN secretary general Abdon Nababan said the conference on indigenous people mapping was the first such gathering to be held in Indonesia in almost 10 years.

“The conference aims to share knowledge, experience and lessons learned taken from indigenous people mapping activities in regions across the world,” said Abdon in his opening remarks at the conference on Sunday.

The 11 countries participating in the conference are Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Panama, Suriname, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Representatives from the World Bank, indigenous people organizations and local communities are also attending the conference.

Abdon said Indonesia’s involvement as the host country came on the heels of a recent Constitutional Court verdict that annulled state ownership of customary forests.

He said that only 7 million out of a total 40 million hectares of customary forests in Indonesian had been mapped out.

“Our target is that by 2020, 40 million hectares of customary forests in Indonesia will have been mapped out,” said Abdon. (ebf)

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