Participants of the Indigenous women and youth training on climate change and land governance in Burundi, March 2024

The Regional Platform on Indigenous peoples (RP 5) is one of the member-led multi-stakeholder networks supported by the International Land Coalition(ILC) whose goal is to work towards securing the territorial rights of Indigenous Peoples in Africa. The network brings together about 20 member organizations in over 10 countries in 3 Africa sub regions i.e. East Africa, Central Africa and South Africa sub region.

RP 5 in collaboration with the National Land Coalition (NLC) Burundi delivered the women and youth empowerment training on land and climate governance in Africa. From 26 to 28 March 2024, RP 5 and the NLC Burundi carried out a training on climate justice, to redefine the place of Indigenous Peoples, women and youth with regard to their access to land and climate governance and also to strengthen the capacity of youth, women, and IP organizations to advocate for their land rights. The workshop brought together 42 women and young IPs from Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, DRC, Kenya and Tanzania, including ILC members such as Botswana Kwedom Council (BKC) Unissons-nous pour la Promotion des Batwa ( UNIPROBA), La Confédération des Associations des Producteurs Agricoles pour le Développement (CAPAD),Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA), Conseil pour la défense environnementale par la légalité et la traçabilité(CODELT), Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP) and Parakuiyo Patrolists Indigenous Community(PAICODEO).

The initiative is a testament to the collaborative efforts in addressing some of the most pressing global challenges of land governance and climate change. The training aimed at equipping the women and youths with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate and lead in the complex landscape of climate governance. It underscored the importance of inclusive participation in environmental decision-making and recognizes the unique contributions and perspectives that women and youth bring to the table.


Indigenous youth panel from Tanzania, Botswana and Burundi giving their perspectives on climate change

The objective of training was to empower Indigenous Peoples, youth and women of Africa in particular Burundi to become agents of change in their communities and to advocate for policy change at the national and global level related to land and climate change governance. The meeting also aimed at facilitating the creation of networks linked to the youth and women platforms for experience sharing on best practices, and advocate for their rights and interest.

High ranking officials from the government of Burundi graced the meeting including, the Assistant Minister of environment, the Ministry of National Solidarity, the Director General of Land use Planning and the representative of the Mayor of Bujumbura. The officials facilitated a number of sessions expounding the government efforts to address climate change in the country and the collaborative efforts they have with multilateral agencies like the FAO and UNDP to attract climate resources for the country. One of the striking things we discovered is the increasing recognition and involvement of the Batwa people and local communities in government programs.

The training was designed to a broad range of topics, including sustainable land management, climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, and the socio-economic aspects of climate change. By fostering an understanding of these areas, the training enhanced the capacity of women and youth to engage in climate action effectively. Moreover, the initiative aligned itself with broader global efforts, such as those outlined by the UNFCCC on climate financing. The training also allowed participants to better understand the linkages between land governance and climate change and how secured access to land for women and young IPs can be part of the solution.

The training also delved into the governance aspect, providing insights into policy formulation, implementation, and the role of civil society in holding governments accountable. Participants were encouraged to explore the intersectionality of climate change, examining how it disproportionately affects marginalized communities and how gender-responsive approaches can lead to more equitable outcomes.

Furthermore, the training acknowledged the critical role of technology in today’s economy, in providing solutions to the societal challenges. This approach not only empowered them in the context of climate and land governance but also enhanced their competencies that are increasingly valuable in a variety of sectors including basketry, pottery and related handicrafts industries in the community.

The success of such training programs in Burundi is an inspiration of hope for similar initiatives in the region. It demonstrates the potential of targeted awareness and capacity-building efforts to create impact, leading to stronger, more resilient communities that can better withstand the challenges posed by climate change. As the world continues to grapple with the climate crisis, the lessons learned from Burundi’s approach to empowering women and youth through collaborative initiatives will undoubtedly contribute to the broader discourse on sustainable development and climate resilience.

Article by: Indigenous Africa Regional Platform 5 Coordinator.


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