avatar for Aili Pyhälä

Aili Pyhälä

University of Jyväskylä
Senior Lecturer in Development and International Cooperation
Aili has specialized in participatory processes, human-nature relations, cross-cultural perceptions of wellbeing, traditional and indigenous knowledge and rights, ecological footprints, and permaculture. She has extensive grassroots-level experience working with multiple indigenous and local communities and protected areas around the world. She has researched and worked with a number sustainable development and wellbeing indicators, and alongside her research has worked as a consultant, with close to 20 years evaluating development cooperation projects worldwide. She sits in the Steering Committee of the ICCA Consortium, and is Vice-Chair of the Finnish Society for Development Research. Her current research looks at how the promotion of mainstream systems of nature conservation, education, health and food security (and notions such as “sustainability” and “development”) affect local knowledge systems and cultures. A trained permaculturist and ecovillage designer, learning her 9th language, and with professional experience in more than 25 countries, she enjoys teaching, facilitating events, and promoting cross-cultural communication and exchange.

Title of talk: Bottom-up governance: Humanizing the nature conservation paradigm

Estimates suggest that territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (referred to as “ICCAs”) are almost as widespread as state protected areas, and under certain conditions even more effective at environmental management and increasing human wellbeing. Despite this, ICCAs continue to be largely overlooked. In my talk, I will define and present an overview of ICCAs worldwide and tap into their enormous potential to fulfill a holistic, sustainable, realistic, ethical and resilient approach to conservation and sustainable livelihoods. I also share some of my own research, as well as some success stories, and provide recommendations for strategic and catalytic partnerships.