Biocultural Consulting can help communities with developing vital ways forward in strengthening decision-making processes, negotiating agreements that are equitable, and conserving their local biodiversity and traditional knowledges. Assist you develop "Community Protocols" - setting out your rights and responsibilities relative to natural and cultural resources, helping defend these rights, and negotiate with others on stronger equal footings. Also establish internal community rules for equitable benefit-sharing arrangements and social investment strategies and outcomes.
Over past several decades, communities have increasingly engaged with external parties (government agencies, researchers, companies, and conservation organisations).
- sometimes occuring accordingly to communities’ protocols and locally defined priorities
- in many cases, however, the terms of the engagement are initiated and defined by the external party
- communities often have to act defensively in response to imposed plans, threats and impacts.
As a result, there is growing recognition of potential usefulness of articulating communities’ protocols in forms that connect well with western processes. Doing so helps put external parties on notice that community’s identity and ways of life, laws, customs and practices, values, and procedures for engagement are critical. Bringing about more constructive dialogue and collaboration to support community plans and priorities in locally appropriate ways.
These new forms of protocols are also called “biocultural community protocols”. Although each is adapted to its local context, a protocol is generally:
- determined by a self-defined community with close connection to a specific territory or area that is the foundation of their identity, culture, language and ways of life
- documented, developed and used in a participatory manner by that community and, where appropriate, with the support of trusted long-standing relationships and organisations
- intended to promote appropriate recognition of, and support for, community-specific customary ways of life and custodianship of country
- based upon values, standards, procedures, rights, and responsibilities set out in customary, national, and international laws, frameworks and policies
Compliance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, such as Article 18, enables BioC to continuously measure the extent to which Indigenous peoples undertake practical improvements to the lives of their peoples, communities and country.
It is crucial that any relevant cultural institution (language, tribal, clan, clan family, gender and other key realtionship structures) are afforded the following "Rights" intent in any activity that may affect or impact their being.
Article #18 - "Indigenous peoples have the right to particpate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as maintain and develop their own indigenous decison-making institutions.