MEDIA RELEASE: 30 by 30 Success Relies on Government Commitment to Indigenous Land & Sea Management

Published: 21 Dec 2022

Country Needs People’s Rarrtjiwuy Melanie Herdman with Patrick O’Leary at COP 15, Montreal. Photo: Country Needs People

Country Needs People welcomes the historic global agreement to protect 30% of the world’s biodiversity by 2030 at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal, but it is imperative that we ensure Indigenous land and sea management is prioritised and fully supported, with Indigenous peoples protecting 80% of the world’s biodiversity.

“It was inspiring to be at COP 15 and see firsthand the global push for Indigenous land and sea management across the world, and how Indigenous knowledge and continuous living culture was so prominent in Montreal through the advocacy of Indigenous peoples there”, said Country Needs People Board Director Rarrtjiwuy Melanie Herdman.

“Lands held by Indigenous peoples contain around 80% of the world’s biodiversity. In Australia it’s crucial that Indigenous Rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas get the support they need from government, supporting infrastructure, capacity and sustainability, to look after sea and land country long into the future.”

“It was great to see the Australian government as part of the negotiating process at COP 15 and advocating strongly for biodiversity protection” said Patrick O’Leary, CEO of Country Needs People.

“It’s key that the federal government stays firm on its major commitments to increase resources for Indigenous Ranger and Indigenous Protected Areas by rebuilding the capacity of the federal environment department. Staff focused on supporting Indigenous land and sea management were cut by over 90% over the last decade”.

“If we’re fair dinkum about protecting biodiversity and ensuring Indigenous land and sea managers are front and centre we need to ensure that traditional owners are fully supported to  continue the challenging work they do caring for Country in a changing climate, with significant economic and social pressures” said Patrick O’Leary, CEO of Country Needs People.

Rarrtjiwuy Melanie Herdman and Patrick O’Leary have just returned from Montreal advocating for Indigenous land and sea management at the UN Biodiversity Conference alongside other Indigenous representatives from around the world.

Country Needs People are an independent not-for-profit organisation with a growing network of 44 Aboriginal and Torres Strait organisations who work and advocate for the growth, security and quality of Indigenous sustainable land and sea management Australia wide. Country Needs People works to keep nature, people and culture strong,instigating the successful campaign for doubling jobs for Indigenous Rangers and growing funding for Indigenous Protected Areas since 2015, which received cross-party backing at the 2022 Federal Election, and has garnered the support of over 100,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.