Carol Kalafatic

Board Member | Indigenous Peoples' rights activist & independent scholar

Carol Kalafatic (Quechua, Spanish & Croatian) has been collaborating with Indigenous Peoples (IPs) since 1991, as a policy advocate, organizer, writer, trans-disciplinary scholar, and educator. With an emphasis on bio-cultural diversity and resilience, she promotes IPs’ self-determination, food sovereignty, and meaningful participation in policy making. Her research interests include these struggles as well as: IPs’ governance of lands and territories; community development and coalition building; dynamic heritage systems, and indigenous media.

In recent years the UN Committee on World Food Security Bureau and several civil society networks appointed Carol to the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), which aims to strengthen policy making by producing independent, evidence-based analysis and recommendations. She served for two terms, including as Vice-Chair of the HLPE.

In addition, she served for several years each as: Associate Director of Cornell University’s American Indian Program; Coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development; and Indigenous Focal Point of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty – a network that brings local experiences to the global debate on food governance. She has also been a consultant to a range of local-to-international organizations/agencies, and traditional IPs’ governments.

Through the workshops and meetings that she conducted, she played a major role in convincing the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to establish a Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. She was lead author of that policy’s framework, and for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples: Building on Biological and Cultural Diversity for Food and Livelihood Security. As the Founding Coordinator of the International Indian Treaty Council’s Right to Food Program, she established the initiative to determine Cultural Indicators of Indigenous Peoples’ food and agroecological systems.

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Her current projects include work with sub-Arctic IPs who are asserting their inherent rights and renewing coalitions to protect wild salmon habitat and fisheries. She also supports the Bameno Huaorani in protecting their territory from oil development in the Amazon in Ecuador.

Carol is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (Coventry University, England), and a Research Fellow at the Resistance Studies Initiative (University of Massachusetts – Amherst, United States). She recently contributed a chapter to Food Security Policy, Evaluation and Impact Assessment, forthcoming in Fall 2019 by Routledge.