This project empowers indigenous communities to participate in preserving their heritage by strengthening their defense against competing global priorities for resources and defending their rights as original inhabitants of their ancestral lands. It supports community-based initiatives: the strengthening of a formal community-led body to plan and implement activities to promote the biocultural heritage of Ulu Papar, and the completion of a base for community-led activities.
The indigenous Dusun communities of Ulu Papar are faced with challenges that threaten the continuity of their lifeways which, for generations, have been interconnected with the land. Their livelihoods and cultural traditions are at risk from large-scale development, diminishing natural resources and encroachment of the market economy. In particular is the threat of the development of a mega-dam that would flood Ulu Papar villages and destroy their history, biological and cultural diversity.
This project builds on 8 years of work aimed to increase and revitalize knowledge of biocultural and historical significance of Ulu Papar and Bundu Tuhan, supporting sustainable livelihoods and watercatchment conservation, and establishing participatory approaches, avenues and networks for community conservation. Community researchers will continue to strengthen channels of cooperation and avenues for discussion among communities and involved agencies, leading to preservation of customary lands.
Creating opportunity for indigenous community researchers to be actively involved in community conservation builds recognition and pride of the significance of their traditions. Enhanced competence in resource monitoring, management and outreach empowers them to be responsible in supporting long-term maintenance of their livelihoods and cultural heritage.