The world is watching as Traditional Owners lead the way in Reef protection

Great Barrier Reef Foundation

The world is watching as Traditional Owners lead the way in Reef protection

The world is watching as Traditional Owners lead the way in Reef protection 581 387 Ocean Decade

Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owners are sharing their world-leading approach to weaving Traditional Knowledge with Western science, in a bid to help protect coral reefs as the world grapples with the 4th global mass coral bleaching event.

Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owners are sharing their world-leading approach to weaving Traditional Knowledge with Western science, in a bid to help protect coral reefs as the world grapples with the 4th global mass coral bleaching event.

Launched at the UN Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona, ‘The World Is Watching’ is a campaign to elevate Traditional Owners’ voices and showcase how their world-first co-design and co-delivery model for conservation is setting a new global standard for Indigenous-led solutions.

Developed in collaboration with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the campaign shows the critical role of Traditional Owners across the Great Barrier Reef and its catchments as leaders in the biggest collective effort to protect the Reef, the Reef Trust Partnership (RTP).

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities are known to be highly effective stewards of 80% of the planet’s remaining biodiversity. However, less than 1% of global climate support has reached them.The RTP, a $443m partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, has invested $51.8 million in Traditional Owner-led Reef protection projects.

That funding has enabled Traditional Owners to design and run projects on their land and sea Countries that address local ecosystem threats that impact their communities, and help protect the Reef from the impacts of climate change, poor water quality and crown-of-thorn starfish outbreaks.

And now the world is watching – to see if this unique, holistic approach of weaving Traditional Knowledge and Western science is the new, better way to slow the impacts of climate change and heal Country.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said: “Traditional Owners have nurtured a harmonious and reciprocal relationship with the Reef and the land surrounding it over millennia, through deep spiritual and cultural connections. These connections are a vital part of the collective action needed to protect the Reef into the future.

“We’re proud to walk in step with Traditional Owners as they generously share their ancient Knowledge and wisdom so that together we can secure a bright future for the Reef.”

Traditional Owners take a holistic approach to conservation that links environmental, animal, and human health and wellbeing. Concerned about declining conditions, Traditional Owners drafted a Healing Country statement calling for action.

Now, for the first time they are sharing their stories of how Traditional Knowledge is helping heal the Reef through a new website – ourreefstories.com.au

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Director of Traditional Owner Strategic Initiatives Liz Wren said: “Every day, we see incredible leadership from Traditional Owners using their voices, actions and cultural Knowledge to care for land and sea Country and protect the Reef. As global leaders in best-practice nature-positive solutions, their stories are changing the global conversation about how best to protect the world’s remaining biodiversity.”

More than 65 Traditional Owner groups are actively involved in creating stronger First Nations-led processes, inclusive governance and management of the Reef, employment pathways for Traditional Owners, and conservation methods that recognise cultural values and diversity.

Yuku Baja Muliku Traditional Owner, Earthshot Prize winner and chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Traditional Owner Advisory Group Larissa Hale said: “Traditional Owners and scientists are increasingly working together collaboratively, utilising western science and Traditional Knowledge for ongoing land and sea management and greater outcomes for both people and planet.” The World is Watching campaign is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and will include a major Australian and international promotional campaign including TV, print, online and social media.

This article was originally published on the website of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is an institutional member of the Ocean Decade Alliance.

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