Views of FPP partners on Rio+20 summit

Forest Peoples Programme and a delegation of indigenous peoples’ leaders from Guyana, Suriname, Peru, Panama and Kenya attended the Rio+20 Indigenous Peoples’ International Conference on Self-Sustainable Development and Self-Determination from 17-19 June and the formal Rio+20 intergovernmental meeting from 20-22 June 2012.

Reflections on Rio+20, Sustainable Development and the Green Economy by Robert Guimaraes, Shipibo-Konibo People, Amazon School of Human Rights, Peru

The outcomes of governments’ negotiations at Rio+20 do contain some useful elements, especially the recognition of the importance of diverse economies and development policies. However, although human rights have been reaffirmed in the governments’ ‘vision’ for the future, the topic was not incorporated into many of the results. In general, there are few clear policies or commitments with respect to indigenous peoples. The lack of recognition is evident, for example, in the text on forests, which does not mention our peoples that sustain the majority of the world’s remaining natural forests within our ancestral territories through our customary practices and values. In my view, the results from Rio+20 do not constitute a significant breakthrough because they leave out key rights issues, such as the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).

Peruvian government on brink of expanding oil and gas development in reserve for isolated peoples and UNESCO world heritage site

The Peruvian government has recently approved expansion plans for the Camisea gas project in the heart of a Reserve for isolated indigenous peoples and is considering gazetting a further concession that could overlay Manu National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. These decisions threaten the lives and rights of its inhabitants and represent an infringement of both international law and Peruvian domestic legislation.

DRC reaffirms its commitment to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)

In May, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), along with national partners Action pour le Developpement, l’Environnement et la Vie (ADEV) and Cercle pour la Defense de l’Environnement (CEDEN), hosted The Forest Dialogue (TFD) on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Brazilian indigenous peoples and civil society challenge government backsliding on environment and development

Brazil has made significant gradual steps to combat deforestation since the first Earth summit in 1992. Increasing recognition of indigenous peoples’ land rights in Amazonia, improved law enforcement and changes in rural credit subsidies (alongside external factors like changing commodity prices) have all helped slow annual Brazilian deforestation by 70% when compared to its peak in the 1990s (though in 2011 the country suffered a 127% rise in deforestation compared to 2010).

Civil society groups in DRC suspend engagement with National REDD Coordination Process

In late June civil society organisations tracking REDD+ policies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sent open letters to the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and to the DRC’s Environment Minister expressing grave concerns about the lack of effective public and community participation in national REDD+ policy-making (see links below this article). The “REDD Climate Working Group” (GTCR), which authored the letters and is composed of a broad range of national and local environment and development NGOs in DRC, is insisting on the reorganisation of REDD governance structures in DRC to ensure decentralisation and ensure meaningful participation by civil society and forest peoples in forest and climate policy making at all levels.

UK government continues to develop plans for supporting developing countries to tackle deforestation

The British government is currently finalising its plans to help curb global deforestation as part of the UK’s £2.9 billion dedicated international climate fund (ICF). The ICF has been set up by the UK to ‘help developing countries tackle climate change and poverty[1]’ and includes a specific forest component that is currently being developed by the Departments for International Development (DFID) and Energy and Climate Change (DECC). A portion of the funds have already been allocated for the government’s Forest Governance, Markets and Climate programme, which is geared towards helping FLEGT countries to ‘continue and accelerate efforts to tackle illegal logging…..and supporting supply chain traceability for timber’[2]. It appears that the UK government now plans to extend this work to other commodities that are currently driving deforestation such as soya and palm oil.

African Commission adopts Resolution on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Natural Resource Governance

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) adopted a Resolution on a Human-Based Approach to Natural Resources Governance at its 51st Ordinary Session held from 18 April to 2 May 2012, in Banjul, the Gambia. This resolution was adopted in the context of the Rio+20 Conference and calls on State Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (African Charter) to respect human rights in all matters relating to natural resources governance.

Publication update: FPP report ‘FOREST PEOPLES: Numbers across the world’ now available in French, Spanish, Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesia

By providing estimated figures for indigenous and forest peoples’ populations in countries and regions across the globe, this FPP report, released in May 2012, seeks to raise awareness of the existence of peoples who primarily depend on forests for their livelihoods, and to enhance their visibility as key actors and rights-holders in the management and use of forests and forest resources. These figures may serve as a useful reference in advocacy for the recognition of forest peoples’ legal and human rights.

New publication from IWGIA - Cameroon: What Future for the Baka? Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Livelihood Opportunities in south-east Cameroon

IWGIA, Plan Finland and Plan Cameroon have published a report about the indigenous Baka living in Cameroon entitled What Future for the Baka? Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Livelihood Opportunities in south-east Cameroon. The report looks at the human rights situation of the indigenous hunter / gatherers of south-east Cameroon and their livelihood opportunities.

Venezuela: New study shows lack of political will to recognise indigenous land rights

A new report from the Universidad Nacional Experimental de Guayana shows that less than 1% of the territory of Venezuela has been recognised as indigenous lands. The illustrated study compares the situation in Venezuela with neighbouring Colombia where more 34 million hectares making up nearly 30% of the national territory have been recognised as self-governing indigenous territories (resguardos).