For the first time, more than 30 experts, activists and representatives, indigenous and non-indigenous, will come together to decolonize nature conservation and propose alternatives that respect human rights and the environment.
Norberto Altamirano Zárate, México
Binniza community advocate
He is a Binniza (Zapotec) community advocate from the Indigenous community of Union Hidalgo, Istmo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, México.
Neema Pathak Broome, India
Researcher in environmental science and wildlife management
Neema Pathak Broome studied environmental science before obtaining a postgraduate degree in wildlife management. As a member of Kalpavriksh, she coordinates the Conservation and Livelihoods programme, where she advocates for decentralised, equitable, diverse and context-sensitive conservation governance. Her work focuses on indigenous and community heritage areas and territories (ACHAs). She has compiled a Directory of Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) in India and published numerous articles and books on conservation governance. Neema is coordinating a local community conservation process in eight villages in and around the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra. She is also very involved in the ICCA Consortium in South Asia.
Noé Amador, Guatemala
Community Delegate of Laguna del Tigre and Sierra del Lacandón
Noé Amador is currently the Community Delegate of Laguna del Tigre and Sierra del Lacandón, in the province of Petén, Guatemala. Noé is a farmer and from a very young age, an advocate for the human rights of these communities.
Alice Beriot, France
Activist, co-founder of Igapo Project
Alice Beriot is an activist and co-founder of the Igapo Project, an organization that advocates for the rights of indigenous peoples. She also teaches anthropology and translation at the Catholic University of the West of France. In addition to her fieldwork in the Colombian Amazon, Alice’s work focuses on the rights of minorities and more generally, an analysis of the “Other”.
Archana Soreng, India
Khadia activist and member of the UN Secretary General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change
Archana Soreng belongs to the Khadia Tribe from India. She is a Member of the UN Secretary General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. She is experienced in Advocacy and Research on Rights of Indigenous and Local Communities and Climate Action. She has been working to document, preserve and promote the traditional knowledge and cultural practices of indigenous communities. She has pursued a Masters in Regulatory Governance from Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Guillaume Blanc, France
Historian and lecturer at Rennes 2 University
Guillaume Blanc is lecturer at Rennes 2 University. Environment historian, he currently studies the global governance of nature and men in Modern Africa. He is in charge of the collection "environmental history" at Sorbonne Editions, where he has published, among others, "Une histoire environnementale de la nation" (2015), and co-edited "Humanités environnementales. Enquêtes et contre-enquêtes" (2017). His last book, "L'invention du colonialisme vert. Pour en finir avec le mythe de l'Éden africain", has been published in 2020 by Flammarion.
Bhanumathi Kalluri, India
Director at Dhaatri Trust
Bhanumathi Kalluri (she/her), is Director at Dhaatri Trust, an NGO based in India that works on the intersections of environment justice and women’s rights. Her work mainly involves facilitating collaborative work among women human rights defenders, particularly indigenous women to uphold their rights to their land, forests and knowledge practices. Dhaatri works with the vision of strengthening the voices of women affected by development projects in India like forestry plantations, extractives, national parks, climate change mitigation programmes and infrastructure related displacement and gendered violations. Dhaatri also coordinates a regional level platform called WAMA (Women in Action on Mining in Asia) of women human rights defenders challenging corporate violations and state accountability mechanisms vis-à-vis the mining sector.
Simon Counsell, UK
Researcher and writer on conservation, human rights, and ‘nature-based’ climate solutions
Simon Counsell is an independent researcher and writer on conservation, human rights, and ‘nature-based’ climate solutions, and currently an advisor to the international indigenous rights advocacy group, Survival International. He was for 23 years the Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, a London-based NGO which supports indigenous and traditional peoples of the world’s rainforests in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfil their rights. He has been on the front line of campaigns to protect the world’s forests for more than three decades, previously leading the international forests campaign for Friends of the Earth. He has a BSc in Environmental Science and an MSc in Forestry and Land Use from Oxford University.
Pranab Doley, India
Activist and founding member and advisor to JKSS
Pranab Doley is an Indigenous activist from the Mising people; a founding member and advisor to JKSS, a farmers' and Indigenous’ rights organization and an Assam convenor of the All India Kishan Sangharsh Coordination Committee. He has an MA in Social Work from TATA Institute of Social Sciences. In 2021, he stood as an independent candidate in the Assam Assembly Election, coming second to a sitting Cabinet minister. Pranab has been instrumental in bringing global attention to the large-scale human rights violations in and around Kaziranga National Park and holding the forest department and conservation NGOs to account. As a result of his activism he has been harassed by the authorities and had multiple false criminal cases filed against him.
Lara Domínguez, UK
Acting Head of Litigation at Minority Rights Group (MRG)
Lara Domínguez is Acting Head of Litigation at Minority Rights Group (MRG). She has oversight of MRG’s strategic litigation docket and has represented forest-dwelling indigenous peoples in East and Central Africa evicted in the name of conservation. Lara has published on issues pertaining to international law and human rights, including academic articles and briefing papers on the rights of indigenous peoples, land rights and conservation policy.
Joe Eisen, UK
Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK)
Joe Eisen is Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) where he has worked for the past twelve years in defence of community rights in tropical forests. Joe and his team have played a leading role in exposing the scale of human rights abuses linked to fortress conservation and in pushing for national and international reforms that recognise the role of forest communities in protecting biodiversity. An anthropologist by training, Joe worked with indigenous organisations and environmental NGOs in India, Guyana and Gabon before joining RFUK.
Tokala Leeladhar (Leela), India
Tribal activist and wildlife conservationist
Tokala Leeladhar is a Deva Chenchu, living in the Nallamala forest, in what is now Amrabad Tiger Reserve, in Telangana state, India. He studied botany and zoology, beginning his career working as a tiger tracker and moved on to become a nature guide and wildlife conservationist. Along with safeguarding the forest, he works for the rights and well-being of his tribe. He has said, “Only Chenchus can protect the forest because they know everything about the forest. They feel the forest is their home. Chenchus think the tiger is our big brother. Chenchus all worship tigers, they feel the tiger is god. Where there is forest, there we are.”
Mordecai Ogada, Kenya
Carnivore ecologist and conservation scholar
Mordecai Ogada is a carnivore ecologist and conservation scholar who has been involved in conservation policy and practice for the last 18 years in Kenya and other parts of Africa, mainly on human-wildlife conflict mitigation and carnivore conservation. Over the last three years, Mordecai has been engaged in examining the policy problems and prejudices that underlie the challenges experienced in wildlife conservation, particularly in the global South. These issues form the central theme of ‘The Big Conservation Lie’ a book focused on Kenya co-authored with John Mbaria. He is currently the Executive Director of Conservation Solutions Afrika, a natural resource management consultancy based in Nanyuki. Dr. Ogada consults for Survival International on the Impact of Conservation Practice on the lives and rights of Indigenous People, particularly in Africa.
Madhuresh Kumar, India
Researcher and National Converner of the NAPM
Madhuresh Kumar is the National Coordinator of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and a research fellow in Resistance Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He writes regularly on people's resistance while being involved in several national as well as international networks and processes around issues of democracy, development and climate justice.
Dr. Madegowda. C, India
Soliga social scientist and tribal rights activist
Dr. Madegowda. C is a Soliga social scientist and tribal rights activist from the B.R.T Tiger reserve in India. He has a Ph.D. in social work and works for the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) as a Senior Research Associate and Coordinator. He is also Secretary of a Soliga community organization. He has 24 years of experience working with indigenous people and biodiversity conservation. He was involved in securing the Soliga’s community forest rights – the Soliga were the first Indigenous people living in an Indian tiger reserves to have these rights recognized, setting an important precedent.
Pr. Rosaleen Duffy, UK
Professor of International Politics at the University of Sheffield
Professor Rosaleen Duffy, is Professor of International Politics at the University of Sheffield. She is an expert on the international politics of conservation, especially the intersections between political ecology, social justice and environmental change. Her research interests include the politics of protected areas, tourism, illegal wildlife trade and global environmental governance. She has written several books, including an upcoming monograph on Biodiversity and Security with Yale University Press, which examines the ways in which the turn towards security and militarisation to tackle illegal wildlife trade is reshaping conservation. She is currently Principal Investigator on an ESRC funded project examining illegal wildlife trade in Europe in bears, European eels and songbirds.
Blaise Mudodosi Muhigwa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Lawyer and environmental jurist
Blaise Mudodosi Muhigwa is a lawyer and environmental jurist in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is also a national expert on forest rights and REDD+ safeguard issues. He is one of the co-founders and coordinators of the NGO APEM (Actions pour la Promotion et Protection des Peuples et Espèces Menacés). The association works on voluntary independent monitoring and observation of REDD+ programmes and projects. It also focuses on nature conservation, community forestry, mapping and collaborative land-use planning.
Legal assistance to victims of human rights violations related to natural resources, as well as advocacy for the socio-economic rights of local communities and indigenous peoples, is an important part of the fieldwork. The lawyer has worked in collaboration with several national organisations and platforms (APED, AFRICAPACITY, RRN and APEM), before becoming involved at the international level with WWF, Rainforest Foundation UK, Global Witness and the Forest People Programme.
Robert E. Moïse, USA
Robert E. Moïse is a cultural anthropologist who has worked in the forests of the Congo Basin since the 1980s and has spent over five years on the ground doing research with indigenous peoples and local communities. Since 2010, he has worked as a consultant for NGOs and governments on issues of conservation and development among local forest communities, including their relations with Protected Areas and Community Forest initiatives.
Kipchumba Rotich, Kenya
Sengwer of Embobut CBO (SEECBO)
Young representative of the SEECBO.
Fiore Longo, France
Research and Advocacy Officer at Survival International
Fiore Longo is a Research and Advocacy Officer at Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples. She is also the director of Survival International France and Spain. She coordinates Survival’s conservation campaign, and has visited many communities in Africa and Asia that face human rights abuses in the name of conservation. She has also visited indigenous communities in Colombia and worked on Survival’s Uncontacted Tribes campaign.
Frederic Hache, Belgium
Freelance expert on sustainable finance and environmental markets
Frederic Hache has worked 12 years in investment banking, selling and structuring currency derivatives. After leaving banking in 2011, he then worked for six years as head of policy analysis at NGO Finance Watch, analysing EU legislation linked to systemic risks & financial stability. He now heads the Belgian think tank Green Finance Observatory, lectures in sustainable finance at Science Po Paris. He also works as a freelance expert on sustainable finance and environmental markets while he undertakes a Ph.D. in political economy.
Lottie Cunningham Wren, Nicaragua
Lottie Cunningham Wren is a lawyer for the Miskito indigenous people. For more than twenty years she has been defending the land rights and natural resources of the indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples of Nicaragua. She is the founder of the Centre for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN). In 2020, she received recognition from the Right Livelihood Award, known as the "Alternative Nobel Prize".
Ashish Kothari, India
Activist and author
He is the founding member of Kalpavriksh and active in many grassroots movements. He has taught at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, coordinated the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for India. He has also been a part of the boards of Greenpeace International, its Indian office and the ICCA Consortium. Today, he helps coordinate Vikalp Sangam, Global Tapestry of Alternatives and Radical Ecological Democracy. He is co-author and co editor of several books including "Churning the Earth", "Alternative Futures", and "Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary".
John Vidal, UK
John Vidal is a journalist and has reported from over 100 countries. He was environment editor of the Guardian 1989-2016 and has written on conservation and the environment for most mainstream western newspapers. The author of McLibel, Burger Culture on Trial, he is presently writing a book on how we are creating the conditions for diseases like Covid-19 to emerge and spread.
Birendra Mahato, Nepal
Chair of the Tharu Cultural Museum and Research Center and Community Conservation Nepal
Birendra Mahato is the founder and chair of the Tharu Cultural Museum and Research Center (the first community museum in Nepal) and Community Conservation Nepal, which is working to empower local people for sustainable conservation. Since 2003 Mahato has defended the human rights of Indigenous Peoples suffering at the hands of fortress conservation in Nepal, pushing for their rights to be recognised. He has worked to stop the abuse of Tharu and other Indigenous peoples in Chitwan National Park and to bring national and international attention to the abuses happening there.
Sutej Hugu, Taiwan
Tribal activism mobilizer and sustainable self-determination organizer of Indigenous Taiwan
Sutej Hugu is a tribal activism mobilizer and sustainable self-determination organizer of Indigenous Taiwan. He is the Regional Coordinator for East Asia and de facto Facilitator for Cross-regional Network for ICCAs-territories of life in Austronesia Indian and Pacific Ocean, ICCA Consortium. Hugu co-founded, and was elected as first Chairperson, of the Cultural Taiwan Consortium, a national NGO that works towards an integrated national identity by seeking connectedness to the land and nature. He is CEO of the Tao Foundation, championing a campaign to remove a nuclear waste repository. He assisted in launching the Taiwan Indigenous Conserved Territories Union (TICTU) which federates 748 tribal communities whose Indigenous territories almost entirely overlap with state protected areas and national forests. He co-founded, and is the Chief Advisor for, the Indigenous Taiwan Self-Determination Alliance which promotes the Indigenous decolonization and sustainable self-determination for a new nation-building movement in Taiwan.
Mekozi Rufin, Republic of Congo
Mekozi Rufin is a member of the Baka tribe in the Republic of Congo. For years, he has been speaking out against human rights abuses and defending the Baka’s rights to their forest, especially in the proposed Messok Dja protected area (a WWF project) and in Odzala-Kokoua National Park (an African Parks project). He has been instrumental in bringing these abuses to international attention. He is also the founder of a local organisation called “Groupement des autochtones de Sembe (GAS)” supporting Baka families to clear fields and plant manioc.
Robert Fletcher, Netherlands
Professor at the University of Wageningen
Robert Fletcher is based at the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. A former ecotourism guide, he is an environmental anthropologist with research interests in conservation, development, tourism, globalization, climate change, human-wildlife interaction, social and resistance movements, and non-state forms of governance. He uses a political ecology approach to explore how culturally-specific understandings of human-nonhuman relations and political economic structures intersect to inform patterns of natural resource use and conflict. His publications include the books The Conservation Revolution: Radical Ideas for Saving Nature beyond the Anthropocene, co-authored with Bram Büscher, and published by Verso Books in 2020, and Romancing the Wild: Cultural Dimensions of Ecotourism, published by Duke University Press in 2014.
Celeste Alexander, USA
PhD candidate in Anthropology at Princeton University
Celeste Alexander is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Princeton University. She conducted fieldwork in Tanzania with Ikoma persons and neighboring communities along the western border of Serengeti National Park and among conservation, development, and tourism professionals. Celeste’s ethnographic work questions the efficacy and injustice of racialized “correctional” approaches to biodiversity conservation. Prior to her doctoral studies, Celeste worked for several years at the Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
Juan Pablo Gutiérrez, Colombia
Human rights defender, activist, photographer and international delegate of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) and the Yukpa indigenous people.
Juan Pablo Gutiérrez is a human rights defender, activist, photographer and international delegate of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) and the Yukpa indigenous people. Since 2012, he has dedicated his work to the protection of indigenous peoples. He is also known for championing freedom of thought, and new critical and decolonial epistemological approaches from the Global South. Juan Pablo has faced multiple threats from Colombian paramilitary groups for denouncing the critical situation of indigenous peoples in Colombia to national and international authorities. He escaped an attack in 2014 and now continues his fight for human rights from abroad.
Llanquiray Painemal, Chile
Llanquiray Painemal, Mapuche (with a Chilean passport), originally from the Coiwe- Ramón Painemal community in Gulumapu (today Chile). Active in the Mapuche movement since her youth, today she resides in Berlin and from there, she works in solidarity with mapuche communities and mapuche political prisoners.
Dina Gilio-Whitaker, USA
Lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and an independent educator in American Indian environmental policy and other issues.
Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and an independent educator in American Indian environmental policy and other issues. At CSUSM she teaches courses on environmentalism and American Indians, traditional ecological knowledge, religion and philosophy, Native women’s activism, American Indians and sports, and decolonization. She also works within the field of critical sports studies, examining the intersections of indigeneity and the sport of surfing. As a public intellectual, Dina brings her scholarship into focus as an award-winning journalist as well, with her work appearing at Indian Country Today, the Los Angeles Times, High Country News, Time.com, Slate, History.com, Bioneers, Truthout, the Pacifica Network, Grist, and many more. Dina is the author of two books; the most recent award-winning As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice from Colonization to Standing Rock. She is currently under contract with Beacon Press for a new book under the working title Illegitimate Nation: Privilege, Race, and Accountability in the U.S. Settler State.
Delcasse Lukumbu, Democratic Republic of Congo
Delcasse Lukumbu is an activist from the Rutshuru territory in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Married with three children, he graduated in rural administration. In order to fight the injustices of Congolese society, Delcasse has been involved with the LUCHA movement since 2017 (Lutte pour le changement), which advocates for social justice and human rights. This fight doesn’t come without its risks though, and Delcasse has been arrested several times. Most notably, he was imprisoned for 6 months following a peaceful protest which demanded that the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) stop the forced and militariz
Taneyulime Pilisi, French Guiana
Co-president of the Aw Kae collective
Taneyulime Pilisi is a Kalin'a woman from the Guianas, a writer and former interpreter of the Kalin'a and Sranan Tongo languages. She is the co-president of the Aw Kae collective for the preservation and development of Kalin'a culture and arts.
Victoria Tauli Corpuz, The Philippines
Executive Director of Tebtebba
Victoria Tauli Corpuz is Executive Director, Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education), and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Deborah S.Rogers, United States
Coordinator of the global network,
Initiative for Equality
Deborah S. Rogers has committed her life to environmental justice, Indigenous rights and socioeconomic equality. Over the years she has worked with Indigenous-led initiatives including the Black Hills Alliance, the Cowboy & Indian Alliance, Women of All Red Nations, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She coordinated the Walking Forward Lakota health disparities project, and taught at Oglala Lakota College. For the past 10 years she has directed Initiative for Equality (IfE), a global network of activists working on issues related to social, economic and political inequality. She currently serves as Coordinatrice internationale for Réseau Initiative for Equality (RIFE), a regional network of 18 Indigenous rights organizations in Burundi, Rwanda and the DR Congo. In this capacity, she has written reports on genocidal attacks, has made presentations at the United Nations, and has helped with two significant lawsuits to defend Indigenous rights at Kahuzi Biega National Park in eastern DR Congo.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Indigenous peoples leader and activist
My home village, Bukanga, is less than 5km from the border of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Almost all the inhabitants of the village are Indigenous Peoples from the Bakanga tribe, including myself. My father used to tell me about all the camps they lived in before they were evicted from the park; he often lamented the lack of access to a hill called Kabasi, which is one of the Bakanga’s sacred sites. In 2007, fleeing the attacks, killings and looting of the Interahamwe [an African paramilitary group that was involved in the Rwandan genocide], I left the village for Bukavu, with my family, where I enrolled at university and obtained a Masters degree in social sciences. I soon met Indigenous rights advocates and integrated easily. It was in this context that I created Actions pour le Regroupement et l’Auto promotion des Pygmées (ARAP). After that we created the Réseau des Associations Autochtones Pygmées (RAPY) at a local level, and the Dynamique des Groupes des Peuples Autochtones (DGPA) at a national level. These days, my work involves teaching the Indigenous Peoples who live in and around the national park about their land rights and finding ways to bring our history to the international community.