The Rights and Resources Group welcomes new Board members
Rights and Resources Initiative

The Board now includes human rights lawyer, Emily Kinama; environment and land rights expert, Emma Norrstad Tickner; seasoned financial executive, Mike Bryan; and Indigenous leader, Gam Shimray.

13 .02. 2024  
3 minutes read

Washington, D.C. (February 13, 2024) — The Rights and Resources Group’s (RRG) Board of Directors has named as its newest members three global leaders in environmental, financial, and human rights advocacy: Emma Norrstad Tickner from Sweden; Emily Kinama from Kenya; and Peter “Mike” Bryan from the United States. They join Gam Shimray, an Indigenous Naga leader from Northeast India who joined in October 2023.

RRG is the coordinating body/secretariat of Rights and Resources Initiative, a global coalition of over 150 organizations that promotes the rights and voices of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendant Peoples—particularly the women and youth within these groups.

Gam, Emma, Mike, and Emily bring with them an array of experience at national, regional, and international levels defending the rights of organizations and communities on the frontline of the dual climate and biodiversity crises. Their leadership is characterized by their complementary focus on land rights and natural resource management; financial security and organizational health; and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other marginalized communities, including women and girls.

Gam has worked on Indigenous Peoples’ issues since 1993. He became the Convener of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights in Northeast India in 1998. From 2000–2004 he served as a technical expert for the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests’ National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. He has also served as the National Coordinator of the All India Coordinating Forum of the Adivasi/Indigenous Peoples in India. Gam is currently the Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), an RRI Partner organization.

Emma is a seasoned sustainability consultant with experience advising and supporting organizations with projects related to the environment, climate change, and biological diversity. Before becoming a consultant, she was Program Officer for the global portfolio on land rights and sustainable agriculture at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and lived for many years in Mozambique working at the intersection of land rights, natural resource management, and agriculture.

Emily is a human rights lawyer and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. She is also a litigation and research counsel at Katiba Institute, an NGO based in Nairobi. Emily brings to the RRG Board years of experience researching and litigating in domestic and regional courts on the land and environmental rights of Indigenous and marginalized communities, socioeconomic rights, and women’s rights.

Mike is a skilled financial executive with more than 40 years of experience leading in the contract project sector in government agencies and across the world. Having led both small and large teams in competitive and difficult environments, his expertise in providing support and training on financial matters will be a particular asset as RRG continues to pilot and grow its Community Land Rights and Conservation Finance Initiative (CLARIFI) in 2024 and beyond.

Emma, Emily, Mike, and Gam’s appointment is a key step forward in creating space in RRI’s leadership to hear from a diversity of voices and in bringing new expertise to the decision-making table.

In addition to welcoming these new members, RRG also said goodbye to longstanding Board member, Nighisty Ghezae, who served on the Board from 2015–2024, and Maasai leader Stanley Kimaren ole Riamit, who served from 2020–2023.

Nighisty is the Chief Operations Officer at The Tenure Facility and offered invaluable leadership to the Board during her nine-year tenure.

Kimaren is a fearless leader whose commitment to the land rights struggle in Kenya and around the world will continue long after his tenure has ended.

RRG also recently bid farewell to Tapani Oksanen, who served as Chair of the Board from 2017–2021 and Secretary from 2021–2023; and Andy White, who served on the Board as RRG President from 2005–2021 and as Advisor from 2021–2023.

To learn more about RRG’s Board of Directors, click here.

For comments or questions, contact Nicole Harris.


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