Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

World Indigenous Network takes to the international stage

Media release
27 May 2013

The international network of Indigenous and local community land and sea managers will become an official part of the United Nations after the Australian Government handed its management to the Equator Initiative.

The international network will be hosted and managed through the Equator Initiative of the United Nations Development Programme.

The initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

The handover was announced at the World Indigenous Network Conference in Darwin, where more than 1,200 delegates from over 50 countries are sharing stories, knowledge, cultural experiences and ideas to better manage ecosystems, protect the environment and support sustainable livelihoods.

The World Indigenous Network was launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) in Brazil last year.

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said the Equator Initiative was already actively supporting the work of Indigenous and local community land and sea managers around the world and had significant international partnerships and capacity.

"The details of how the International network will work is still being determined by land and sea managers and others, but I am pleased that the Equator Initiative has embraced the Australian Government's vision for the World Indigenous Network.

"The World Indigenous Network will create opportunities to recognise and celebrate the traditions and knowledge of Indigenous peoples and local communities and the value of marrying these traditions with best available science, in the interests of healthy environments and the creation of economic opportunities for Indigenous communities."

Dr. Veerle Vandeweerd, Director of the UNDP Environment and Energy Group said they are grateful and honored to be entrusted with Secretariat of the World Indigenous Network.

"UNDP recognizes and embraces its responsibility to learn from what is working on the ground and to assist governments in the process of taking local and indigenous community successes to scale" she said.

"It is our hope that other governments and donors will follow Australia's lead and join us in delivering on the potential of the World Indigenous Network."