Jessica Clogg

Ashoka Fellow
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Jessica Clogg was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Through a process she calls “Transformative Land Reform,” Jessica transfers valuable knowledge from First Nations’ (indigenous) ancestral practices to Western legal code. She integrates the provisions of First Nations traditions with the requirements of British Law to achieve a more sustainable, enforceable land management policy upon which both parties can agree. This turns the wisdom of the First Nations community into a tool for conservation and equalizes the power dynamic between the government, industries, and First Nations.
Jessica’s idea is to trigger a participatory process, which involves the whole tribe in formulating and capturing the ancestral land law. This is especially critical because for centuries First Nations had not written down or translated their ancestral practices for the conservation of natural resources—the basis of their subsistence. Canadian courts have affirmed that First Nations must be consulted and accommodated on land-related decisions. Yet First Nations leaders lacked tools for negotiation with government or industry, and this consultation rarely occurred. The frequent violation of this law created a legal opportunity that Jessica is seizing, facilitating cultural “translation” but also formal training that allows First Nations to advocate for themselves.
Jessica’s work represents more than an effort at mutual understanding or advocacy—she facilitates an actual transfer of knowledge for concrete legal outcomes and better land conservation. In Great Bear, British Colombia, for example, the legal definition of “park” was amended to reflect First Nations’ concerns. The “translation” also works the other way, as First Nations are empowered by deeper knowledge of the legal systems they are working to change. Armed with this integrated understanding of the land and the law, Jessica plans for communities throughout the global Commonwealth (which still uses British Law), to make use of this model of sustainable ecosystem management.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person


Jessica Clogg cherche à introduire une nouvelle approche au droit de l’environnement qui habilite des peuples autochtones à utiliser leur propres traditions légales pour protéger les terres et l’eau sur leurs territoires tout en rendant la loi Canadienne plus juste. La « réforme agraire transformative » de Jessica transforme le savoir des communautés des Premières Nations en un outil pour la conservation, et rétablit l’équilibre des forces entre le gouvernement, l’industrie forestière, et les Premières Nations. Depuis 2002, Jessica a travaillé avec un grand nombre de Premières Nations en Colombie Britannique pour modifier légalement et mettre en oeuvre des plans d’utilisation de terres qui protégent la biodiversité tout en permettant la co-gestion avec les communautés locales.


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