Representatives from Indigenous land management groups in the desert rangelands met at the recent 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress.
Held in Sydney in November, the Congress provided an ideal opportunity for those groups working in the desert regions of WA, NT and SA to get-together for a dedicated session of workshopping and brainstorming.
Called “Looking after Desert Country”, the workshop was sponsored by The Nature Conservancy and BHP Billiton.
Representatives were present from the Central Desert Land and Community unit (CDLC), Spinifex Land Management, Wiluna, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa , Kimberley Land Council, Goldfields Land and Sea Council, Kiwirrkurra (all WA), Central Land Council (NT), Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Management (APYLM), and West Mallee Protection Group and Natural Resources Alinytjara Wilurara in South Australia.
Geographically, these groups cover a significant part of central Australia.
Birriliburu Ranger Coordinator at CDLC Mo Pawero said a day was set aside for presentations from many of the groups, networking and to look at opportunities to work together and be more efficient.
“It was good to work with our neighbours, and to put faces to names and those you have worked with through emails,” he said.
“We made the most of that time with workshops, breaking into groups and mixing – that was the highlight for sure.”
Mr Pawero said even though the area they work in is vast, it was great to realise we have similar issues.
“There was a lot of sharing of knowledge and experience and how other groups operate, lessons learnt as well as what worked really well and not so much.”
“For example, we discussed desert networks and the potential for ranger exchanges. We are hoping to organise a ranger exchange between the Birriliburu and KJ mobs in the future,” he said.
“We also discussed fire and helicopters – how could we make it more efficient to use a chopper and save on costs by networking.”
Mr Pawero said the meeting meant that now there’s a lot more confidence in being able to put faces to names and having the confidence to correspond and work with each other.
A small working group was also set up to keep the process going.
“It would be great to have a collaborative, desert-centred approach to managing the area that we operate in,” Mr Pawero said.
The IUCN World Parks Congress is a landmark global forum on protected areas, held every ten years.
Image: The desert groups gathered at the for a workshop to discuss 'Looking after desert country'. (©KJ)