Indigenous Community Water Facilitator Network (ICWFN)
Planning for the sustainable use and management of water in northern Australia has become a crucial aspect to developing the north. The Indigenous Community Water Facilitators Network project (ICWFN) was an initiative of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd. (NAILSMA).
The project aimed to support and establish a network of six regionally based Indigenous Community Water Facilitators to operate in the: West (Fitzroy River) and East (Ord River) Kimberley Region Western Australia; Katherine Daly River Catchments in the Northern Territory; Gulf (Gregory River) and the Mitchell and Wenlock Rivers in the Cape York Region, Queensland.
The aims of the Community Network (ICWFN) were to:
establish a community based network to advance Indigenous engagement in research and management of tropical rivers, water use and conservation across northern Australia, and,
act as a catalyst to ensure that Indigenous interests are articulated, encouraged and incorporated into water policy decisions, management plans and water allocations.
The overall outcomes of this level of engagement included health, economic, cultural, environmental and social benefits among Indigenous participants.
Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation, Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, initially the Miriuwung Gajerrong’s Corporation and then the Kimberley Land Council and Northern Land Council developed agreements with NAILSMA between January and July 2009 to become partners in delivering the project and to host the Indigenous Community Water Facilitators.
The six regionally based Indigenous Water Facilitators were employed to:
develop water networks
facilitate the integration of Indigenous interests with other stakeholders’ interests.
advance Indigenous engagement in research and management.
act as vehicles so that community interests are articulated at the policy level.
Water Facilitators supported communication, training, education, and Indigenous engagement in research and the planning and establishment of management frameworks for tropical rivers.
The coordinator of the ICWFN, based in Darwin, oversaw the Water Facilitators and their engagement of Indigenous communities, NAILSMA's partner agencies, researchers and other water users and managers.
The ICWFN reported to the Indigenous Water Policy Group, TRaCK, the National Water Commission and State and Territory jurisdictions.
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