Resources

FPP E-Newsletter February 2012 (PDF Version)

Dear Friends,

Balancing human beings’ need for decent livelihoods against the imperative of securing our environment is, arguably, the biggest challenge facing our planet. This struggle between ‘development’ and ‘conservation’ is being played out in global policy negotiations, with the decisions of so-called policy-makers being imposed on the ground. But not everything is or should be ‘top down’. Enduring solutions also spring from the grassroots, from the ‘bottom up’.

Central Asháninka del Río Ene (CARE) present their appeal for an injunction to the High Court of Peru against the Peru-Brazil energy accord, 16 February 2012

16 February 2012. Lima, Peru. The Asháninka organisation of the Ene river (CARE) presented their appeal for an injunction to the High Court of Peru against the Peru-Brazil energy accord. The injunction is part of their bid to prevent violation of the rights of the Asháninka whose territories on the Ene river are threatened by hydroelectric dams.

Wapichan people in Guyana present territorial map and community proposals to save ancestral forests

Highlights:

  • Completion of a community digital map of traditional use and occupation of Wapichan wiizi (territory) by Wapichan mappers and a GIS specialist.
  • Community map is based on thousands of waypoints geo-referenced with satellite imagery.
  • The land use map has been finalised through multiple validation meetings in Wapichan communities as well as consultations with the Makushi and Wai Wai communities to the North and South of Wapichan territory.
  • Over 80 community consultations and workshops have been carried out to compile the innovative territorial plan titled Thinking Together for those Coming Behind Us.
  • The land use plan includes proposals to establish a Wapichan Conserved Forest and contains dozens of inter-community agreements on actions to secure land rights, promote sustainable use of resources and enable self-determined community development.
  • Participants at the Wapichan map and plan launch event in Georgetown, Guyana, praised the work as a potential model for other indigenous peoples in Guyana, and throughout the world.

South East Asian Human Rights Commissioners and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations adopt Bali Declaration on Human Rights and Agribusiness

Constructive dialogue and potential synergies between the National Human Rights Commissions and Institutions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia, reached an important milestone at a four-day workshop in November in Bali, Indonesia. The workshop was convened by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission and organised by Forest Peoples Programme and Indonesian NGO SawitWatch, with the support of the Rights and Resources Initiative, Samdhana Institute and RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests.

This landmark workshop on “Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform” was attended by 60 participants, including notable academics, indigenous peoples’ representatives and members of supportive national and international NGOs. An opening statement was made by UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, and a presentation was delivered by Raja Devasish Roy, elected Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNFPII) and traditional chief of the Chakma circle in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh.

Pilot Whakatane Assessment in Ob Luang National Park, Thailand, finds exemplary joint management by indigenous peoples, local communities, National Park authorities and NGOs

Since its inception at the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) ‘Sharing Power’ conference in Whakatane, New Zealand, in January 2011, the Whakatane Mechanism has been piloted in two places: at Mount Elgon in Western Kenya and most recently in the Ob Luang National Park in Northern Thailand.

Durban COP 17: UNFCCC fudges decision on climate finance and makes little progress on REDD+ safeguard implementation

Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at their recent COP17 did not support performance indicators for reporting on the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights in REDD+. However, they did recognise that REDD+ benefits have to go beyond carbon to include biodiversity conservation and support for local livelihoods.

Forest Peoples Programme, with a delegation of indigenous peoples from Guyana, Kenya, Cameroon, Suriname and Peru, attended preparatory negotiations and the 17th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa, in late November/early December 2011. The main purpose of FPP’s attendance was to support the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus and closely follow negotiations on REDD+ safeguards and finance. 

The Importance of Mainstreaming Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Tenurial Conflict Resolution in Indonesia

A summary of ADR studies in Riau, West Sumatra, Jambi and South Sumatra, Indonesia, by Ahmad Zazali, Executive Director, Scale Up

An ongoing and heated debate is underway over the neglect of public access rights over forest resources in current modes of forest tenure in Indonesia. The role of local communities and their access to natural resources often overlap with the rights accorded to government/state enterprises and the private sector. The exploitation of forest resources has driven large companies to ignore the interests of these communities who live within and depend on forests for their livelihoods. This situation in turn has triggered the emergence of intra- and inter-community social conflict, conflict between communities and the government, as well as conflict between communities and companies.

Since the reform and the implementation of decentralisation policies, natural resource conflicts have become increasingly prevalent in Indonesia. The National Land Agency (BPN) reports that at least 7,491 natural resource conflicts have been dealt with by BPN and the Indonesian police. The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) recorded 359 forest-related conflicts from January 1997 to June 2003. The highest frequency of conflicts occurred in 2000 with 153 recorded cases, or 43% of the total number of cases recorded over those 6 years. Conflicts in ​​Industrial Plantation Forests (HTI) were the highest at 39%, with conservation areas (including protected forests and national parks) representing 34% of conflict cases, and forest concessions (HPH) representing 27%.

Update on recent UN-REDD Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria (SEPC) and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Workshops

From 8–11 February 2012, indigenous peoples’ representatives, civil society, NGO and state representatives gathered in Geneva to discuss the draft UN-REDD Programme Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria and the draft UN-REDD Programme Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).  Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), along with a number of NGO, state, and indigenous organisations (including FPP’s local partners from Paraguay, Indonesia and Panama), submitted written comments to both documents in advance. At the meeting in Geneva they then provided significant feedback to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representatives facilitating the event and taking the lead in drafting and revising the documents.

Forest Peoples Programme found the dialogues and exchanges to be very rich; reflective of an increasing understanding of indigenous peoples’ rights and the nature of human rights-based development.  FPP also found the UNDP staff responsive to the suggestions for improvement as well as to the criticisms of content.

Press Release: Wapichan people in Guyana showcase community proposal to save tropical forests on their traditional lands

PRESS INFORMATION

Georgetown, 7 February: The indigenous Wapichan people of Guyana, South America, will make public today a locally-made digital map of their traditional territory alongside a ground-breaking community proposal to care for 1.4 million ha of pristine rainforest for the benefit of their communities and the world. The territory’s rich variety of rainforests, mountains, wetlands, savannah grasslands and tropical woodlands are the homeland of 20 communities, who make a living from small-scale farming, hunting, fishing and gathering, which they have practised over the whole area for generations. The same area, located in the South Rupununi District, south-west Guyana, has an outstanding abundance of wildlife, including endangered species such as giant river otters, jaguars, and rare bush dogs as well as endemic species of fish and birds, like the Rio Branco Antbird.

The grassroots proposal comes at a crucial time because the entire Wapichan territory in Guyana, like many other parts of the Amazon basin and Guiana Shield, is threatened by mega road and dam projects as well as external plans for logging, mining and agribusiness development. In common with many indigenous peoples across Guyana and South America, the communities are vulnerable to land grabs and marginalisation because they lack secure legal title over much of their traditional lands.