OSISA partners the Gaia Foundation in building a network to strengthen and grow Africa’s regional earth jurisprudence, sometimes referred to as the Earth Law movement. This movement is made up of practitioners, communities of practice, CSOs and coalitions working together for the recognition of community governance systems and protection of ecosystems that are key to food production.
The programme supports communities to access and revive their ecological knowledge and practices, taking back control of their lives and food systems, and to secure legal recognition for customary governance systems, which are rooted in Earth Jurisprudence principles, to better exercise their rights over land, food systems and natural heritage.
A central part of this work aims to revive the traditional knowledge, role and status of women as custodians of seed knowledge in the community, agriculture and governance system.
Working Africa EJ network which consists of members of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, LaVia Campesina, the Ghana Food Sovereignty Movement, and Friends of the Earth – Africa, and some smaller movements based in various parts of Africa made significant contributions at the UN Earth Jurisprudence dialogues relating to the SDG's, during the first phase consultations between April and June 2016.
The Africa Network has received wide support from members of the African Commission and IUCN amongst others - for their call for the designation of no-go zones for mining. The call aims to protect the integrity of key ecological systems such as water sources and sacred sites which are critical to maintaining the wild varieties of cultivated crops. The value of this work is that it enhances seed and genetic diversity in the context of climate change. This includes protecting wild areas where wild relatives can evolve and adapt to irregular climate events. Under protected environments that include sacred sites, wild varieties develop important adaptive traits which can be bred into domesticated crops. Sacred sites are a critical traditional way of protecting wild biodiversity, as well as the cultural and spiritual value they hold for communities.