ICIN was pleased to attend the Asia-Pacific Blue Carbon Forum on Kabi Kabi Country (Sunshine Coast) in early August. Thank you to The Nature Conservancy and Great Barrier Reef Foundation for hosting this important event. Over three days, expert presenters from across the Australasian region shared their experiences of working in 'blue carbon'; carbon stored in mangroves, seagrass and saltmarsh. The blue carbon (Tidal Restoration) method has been available in Australia since early last year, and is achieved by measuring carbon following the removal of a barrier, such as a bund or sea wall, to restore the natural tide or coastal floodplain.
Over the three days, many experts presented a summary of the many and varied research projects happening in the blue carbon space across the Asian Pacific region, including Australia.
University of Queensland's Professor Catherine Lovelock presented details of the Feral Ungulate Management Method research underway in partnership with ICIN members, NAILSMA as well as several universities across Australia.
ICIN CEO Anna Boustead presented (top left, credit: TNC), shared with participants a new collaborative research project between the ICIN, Charles Darwin University and NAILSMA funded by the National Environmental Science Program to address the risks, challenges and opportunities for Indigenous peoples regarding emerging markets for blue carbon, this project is called 'A National Approach to Indigenous Engagement in Australia's Blue Carbon & Environmental Markets'.
Over the next 2 years, this new project will inform co-design leading practice guidelines with Traditional Owner groups, Native title bodies, and Indigenous representative bodies on Indigenous Engagement in the Australian Blue Carbon and biodiversity markets, map tenure of Blue Carbon resources with a focus on Indigenous land, rights, and interest and consider avenues for supporting Indigenous-led projects on non-recognised Indigenous tenure.
"If not done well, there is a risk that these new markets may actually further disadvantage and disempower Indigenous peoples and see commercial operators with a greater capacity for capitalising on these markets developing a strong position.
Our members' experience in the carbon industry teaches us that the real opportunities, for Indigenous self-determination and empowerment, can only be realised with a strong foundation of Indigenous leadership and engagement.
Indigenous-owned and led carbon projects are best practice and world leading projects that deliver transformational outcomes NOT just ‘trickle-down’ benefits," said ICIN CEO Anna Boustead at the Forum.
At the Forum, ICIN supported a First Nations panel discussion on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) led by Traditional Owners with presenters (pictured bottom left, credit: TNC) including:
- Fiona Keighran, Li-anthawirriyarra Sea Rangers (NT)
- Chris Muriata, Girringun Senior Ranger (QLD)
- Brian Warner, Kabi Kabi Peoples Aboriginal Corporation (QLD)
- Sonny van Issum, Woppaburra TUMRA Aboriginal Corporation (QLD)
- Jeffrey Newchurch, Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation (SA)
- Thanks to Rachel Bobir (Murawin) for facilitating this session for ICIN.
The panel highlighted the need to support informed decision-making by Indigenous groups about carbon projects being registered on their country, and that decisions regarding the implementation of Blue Carbon and Environmental market projects on lands and seas where Indigenous peoples have rights and interests need to be underpinned by appropriate, lawful, and accurate information. ICIN thanks the panel for their important contributions as well as The Nature Conservancy and The Great Barrier Reef Foundation for hosting this important discussion.
ICIN's Indigenous Carbon Projects Guide and Best Practice Guidelines to Seeking FPIC from Indigenous Communities for Carbon Projects were referenced as best practice guides on FPIC.
The whole workshop was a fantastic reminder of the incredible collaborations possible when working with like-minded people and organisations, and the need to support values based decision-making and partnerships that ultimately value outcomes for human rights, healthy country and community, as well as for the climate.