While governments failed to adopt binding commitments on sustainable development, indigenous peoples from all over the world delivered strong messages against dominant development models and for respect of human rights, self-determination, traditional knowledge and culture.
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.
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).
Peoples' summit for social and environmental justice against commercialisation of life, in defense of the commons
Indigenous Peoples Global Conference on Rio+20 and Mother Earth
Read the indigenous peoples' Declaration here:
Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world met at the “Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Sustainable Development and Self Determination,” from June 17th – 19th 2012 at the Museu da República in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Draft Rio+20 proposed outcomes document a mixed bag: UNDRIP is acknowledged and some positive elements are likely to be secured on traditional knowledge, but other outcomes lack vital and much needed commitments on FPIC and other rights, while the text on forests ignores indigenous peoples and suffers from weak and possibly harmful language.
“Standing Together for our Food Sovereignty, Traditional Cultures and Ways of Life”
For more information on this conference please click here.
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.
Article and photograph courtesy of IISD. See ENB on the Side, 21 March 2012
Indigenous peoples reiterate their key messages for Rio +20 in a side event organized by Tebtebba and the Indigenous Information Network during the 3rd Intersessional Meeting for Rio +20 held in New York.This event, moderated by Karla General, Indian Law Resource Center, addressed key messages of the indigenous peoples for Rio+20.Joji Cariño, TEBTEBBA, supported the integration of a fourth cultural pillar of sustainable development in the zero draft of the Rio+20 outcomes document to encompass the values of indigenous peoples’ spirituality. She suggested: further integrating references to human rights for sustainable development; and respecting local economies, putting in place regulations to avoid land grabbing and predatory investments.
Indigenous peoples reiterate their key messages for Rio+20 - United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, as they relate to the Zero Draft. Click here to read the full statement on the Tebtebba website.
Looking ahead to Rio+20. Click here to read indigenous peoples' Porto Alegre Statement (available in Spanish only)
Indigenous leaders gathered in Manaus in mid-August for a conference organized by COICA (Confederation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations of the Amazon Basin) to discuss traditional knowledge, forests and climate change, as well as the Rio+20 conference. Their final statement called for the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their territories, respect for the principle of the ‘full life’ (‘vida plena’) and support for Indigenous approaches to climate mitigation in forests, (referred to in the statement as “Indigenous REDD+”). Communities were also advised to be alert to the bad practices of “carbon cowboys” and avoid entering into any contracts until international obligations on rights are fully implemented.
We, representatives of indigenous peoples’ communities, organizations and networks from Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and North America, came together to unite on how we can engage effectively with the preparatory processes and the conference proper of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio Plus 20. We thank the Ford Foundation, Fondo Indigena and UN WOMEN for providing the resources to allow for this meeting to happen. We also thank COICA, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Inter-tribal Committee and COIAB, for co-organizing this event.
We recalled our active participation in the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and the parallel processes we organized which resulted into the Kari-oca Indigenous Peoples’ Declaration. The UNCED documents which included the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 recognized the vital role of indigenous peoples in sustainable development and identified them as one of the 9 Major Groups.