Thailand has a population of more than 2 million indigenous people. It is estimated that 1.2 million live in the highlands in the north of the country. During the last four decades, most of these areas have been declared by the Thai government as protected areas, meaning that local communities don't have the right to manage their natural resources and to farm in their own areas.
Indigenous organisations warn that this could otherwise result in the loss of control over their forests. To prevent REDD deals that take advantage of communities they urge the Ministry of Environment and the Regional Government of Loreto to declare that until REDD legislation exists that guarantees these rights then any such agreements have no legal validity.
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Drafted by the Indigenous Peoples Task Force on the Global Environment Facility Indigenous Peoples’ Policy (IPTF). The task force is composed of the following: Joenia Batista de Carvalho, Brazil; Johnson Cerda, Ecuador; Herminia Degawan, Philippines; Famarck Hlawching, Burma; Edna Kaptoyo, Kenya; Jadder Mendoza Lewis, Nicaragua; Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Chad; Saro Pyagbara, Nigeria, and Jennifer Rubis, Malaysia. The Task Force is supported by the GEF Secretariat, the GEF NGO Network and Helen Tugendhat.
Agri-business expansion in Africa is a major threat to the forests and livelihoods of African peoples. Where governance is weak and the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples are insecure, agricultural development is disadvantaging local people.
Awareness of the social and ecological impact of agri-business expansion in South East Asia has led to new standards for acceptable palm oil development. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a third-party voluntary certification process, has adopted a set of Principles and Criteria that is substantially consistent with a rights-based approach, and which seeks to divert palm oil expansion away from primary forests and areas of critical High Conservation Value (HCV) while prohibiting the takeover of customary lands without communities’ Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Increasingly, adherence to the RSPO standard is becoming a requirement for access to the European market and major palm oil producing conglomerates seeking to maintain market share are now members of the RSPO.
Professor James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, visited Costa Rica from 23-27 March 2012 on an official mission to hold meetings with indigenous peoples’ representatives and members of communities affected by the proposed Diquís Dam, State representatives, and UN staff. His visit included meetings in six different indigenous territories where indigenous peoples from Boruca, Cabagra, China Kichá, Curré, Salitre, La Casona, Térraba, and Ujarrás participated.
In 2011 the private Canadian company Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA) signed a management contract with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a former logging concession of almost 300,000 hectares that adjoins the western reaches of Lac Mai Ndombe in Bandundu Province. Carbon trading and the generation of carbon credits through forest preservation and enhancement is the main objective of the ERA project. As part of our global project targeting support to communities in REDD pilot areas, and in the DRC, in March 2012, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and Cercle pour la defense de l’environnement (CEDEN) staff travelled to the region where we held meetings with the customary leaders from 6 communities living inside the ERA concession area. The objective of these meetings was to find out what was happening on the ground, and the extent to which communities were informed about goals, objectives and modus operandi of ERA staff.
Indigenous peoples’ organisations have long called on the Global Environment Facility (GEF), as major global finance institution providing funding for government environmental projects and programmes, to adopt a specific policy on indigenous peoples in line with international standards. In October 2010, the GEF CEO, Monique Barbut, finally announced that the GEF would develop its own set of safeguard standards and would address the specific concerns of indigenous peoples (FPP E-news, October 2011).
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development - Rio+20, is aimed at ensuring full implementation of international commitments on environment and social development. However, there are concerns that it will neglect the urgent need to respect indigenous peoples’ rights, traditional knowledge and self-determined development.
The continuous, sometimes subtle, violence of conservation and development against indigenous peoples continues, unchecked even at the highest levels by the most worthy-sounding agencies of the United Nations.
The Tri-National de la Sangha (TNS) is a protected area with a landscape approach spanning three countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR) and the Republic of Congo. In 2010, the three countries jointly nominated the area as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This nomination was considered by the World Heritage Committee in June 2011.
In response to a specific request by the Green Climate Fund Secretariat, Indigenous Peoples and support organisations have submitted their comments and recommendations on the modalities for selection, activities and role of observers and active observers in the Board of the Green Climate Fund - See Letter. Specific operational details are provided in the response to the questionnaire (attached).