Egypt-UNDP “Tribal Talks” campaign involves tribal communities in protecting nature

Egypt-UNDP “Tribal Talks” campaign involves tribal communities in protecting nature
01 / 09 / 2023
بقلم Marwa Nassar - -

The “Tribal Talks” campaign – launched by the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – aims at spreading awareness among Egypt’s local tribal communities to play their role in conserving nature and biodiversity in Egypt’s protected areas in addition to promoting eco-tourism.

The campaign encompasses five different regions and eleven tribes in Egypt, including Southern Sinai, Southern Red Sea, Nubia, North Coast and Western Desert.

“Tribal Talks” falls within the framework of ECO EGYPT which is a nationwide campaign that promotes for ecotourism in Egypt’s ecological sites and protected sites.

The ECO EGYPT campaign is developed by the Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Egypt’s Tourism Project (MBDT); MBDT is implemented by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) cooperation with the UNDP and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) as a Strategic Partner for the campaign.

“Recently and in celebration of World Environment Day 2023, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment and UNDP Egypt launched its latest campaign “Tribal Talks” through the ECO EGYPT initiative.” The campaign aims to raise awareness, about eleven different local tribal communities residing in and around Egypt’s protected areas. The campaign showcases the different origins, traditions, culture, cuisine, handicrafts and music of these communities through a series of mini documentaries and portraits produced in partnership with Blue Camel Media.

For millennia, tribal communities have thrived in treacherous and unforgiving natural conditions, enduring the scorching desert sun and the chilling winters along steep mountain ranges. The deep bond with nature reflects the significance of environmental conservation and the preservation of cultural heritage.

In Egypt, tribal community culture, tradition, and livelihood are shaped through their interaction with nature. These communities have learned to coexist with nature, developing sustainable methods to derive essential ecosystem services for survival and the conservation of pristine natural resources.

The ability to safeguard and protect natural resources and biodiversity stems from accumulated knowledge passed down through generations. Saad Mohamed, a local fisherman chief from the Ababda tribe based in Wadi El Gemal Protected Area, emphasizes the importance of generational responsibility in nature conservation “Our fathers protected the region until they died then it became our responsibility.”

 Therefore, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, UNDP and the GEF are championing the inclusion of local tribal communities in the conservation of Egypt’s vast protected areas through their joint MBDT project.

By centering the voices, experiences, and customs of local tribespeople, from Nubians to Bedouins, ECO EGYPT advocates support for local livelihoods, providing a platform for the unique practices, traditions, and crafts of these communities. Moreover, ECO EGYPT encourages the involvement of local communities living in and around Egypt’s protected areas in ecotourism processes to ensure improved livelihoods and sustainability.

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