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ABN accompanies Africans in voicing their views on issues such as food and seed sovereignty, genetic engineering, agrofuels, biodiversity protection, extractive industries and the rights of small-holder farmers.We focus on indigenous knowledge, ecological agriculture and biodiversity related rights, policy and legislation. We pioneer culturally-centred approaches to social and ecological problems in Africa through sharing experiences, co-developing methodologies and creating a united African voice on the continent on these issues.
WHO WE ARE
ABN is a regional network of individuals and organisations seeking African solutions to the ecological and socio-economic challenges that face the continent. The ABN was first conceived in 1996 in response to growing concern in the region over threats to biodiversity in Africa and the need to develop strong African positions and legal instruments at the national, regional and international level. Currently, ABN has 36 partners drawn from 12 African countries: Benin, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Together, the African Biodiversity Network is finding innovative and pioneering pathways and solutions to the challenges which face the continent.
WHAT WE DO
ABN strives to ignite and nurture a growing network of change agents working passionately at all levels, in the face of injustices and destruction arising from the current industrial development model, to enable resilient local communities to govern their lives and livelihoods rooted in their own social, cultural and ecological diversity. We focus on indigenous knowledge, ecological agriculture and biodiversity related rights, policy and legislation. We pioneer culturally-centred approaches to social and ecological problems in Africa through sharing experiences, co-developing methodologies and creating a united African voice on the continent on these issues.
WHY WE DO IT
Africa is at a crossroads, trying to reconcile the conservation and recuperation of its vast cultural and natural heritage and meet the many needs of a growing population. Powerful external forces continue to divert us from solutions that come from within Africa as they push for the privatisation and industrialisation of land, knowledge and biodiversity in the name of poverty alleviation. However, the solutions that we seek already lie within our indigenous cultures. ABN is a network committed to unearthing and implementing African solutions to African problems and building solidarity on biodiversity and community rights issues on the continent.
WIN FOR SACRED NATURAL SITES
GRABE-Benin, one of ABN’s partners in West Africa is pleased to share a much awaited English translation of the 2012 Benin law recognising sacred forests and their custodian communities. This significant precedent for the legal recognition and protection of Sacred Natural Sites is the first of its kind in Africa.
The Benin law is another important contribution towards a body of international law which recognises Sacred Natural Sites as ‘No Go Areas’ for mining, extractive industries and other destructive development; and communities’ customary governance systems, based on Earth’s laws, as part of Africa’s plural legal systems.
GRABE-Benin and the Gaia Foundation have translated the text of the Benin law from French into English (an unofficial version), with support from the African Biodiversity Network.
This document aims to serve as an educational and advocacy tool for other communities and civil society, inspiring and supporting the establishment of similar precedents elsewhere for the recognition of Sacred Natural Sites and their custodian communities.