Implementation of international commitments on traditional forest-related knowledge: indigenous peoples’ experiences in Central Africa

The existing legal and policy provisions of central African countries, and the way they have been implemented in practice, have hitherto done little to stem the loss of indigenous peoples' traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK). Focusing on the indigenous and traditional communities of eight central African countries, this detailed report examines the issues surrounding TFRK and assesses the progress made to date by the governments who have given their endorsement to reform.

Conservation and communities in Central Africa - The need to secure indigenous rights and biodiversity, May 2004

Opportunities at the 5ème CEFDHAC - Conférence sur les écosystèmes de forêts denses et humides d'Afrique centrale

This report was produced with the generous support of Comic Relief

This briefing for the 5ème CEFDHAC Conference highlights key areas of concern related to the rights of indigenous forest communities in Central Africa who face serious discrimination from society, are treated as inferior and exploited by their neighbours, and are persistently neglected by development projects. The number of national and transboundary protected area projects in Central Africa is growing rapidly to respond to heightened threats to forest biodiversity, and conservation organisations are working hard to generate the necessary resources to enable these projects to be more sustainable. However, many of these conservation projects overlap lands owned or claimed by local communities, especially an estimated 500,000 indigenous “Pygmy” hunter-gatherers living in the CEFDHAC countries, and the impacts of conservation on these communities are often very severe, placing these indigenous communities’ needs squarely on international donors’ poverty alleviation agendas. Work over the past four years by FPP and its partners shows how widely agreed international principles recognising the rights of indigenous peoples to use, own and control their traditional territories, and to protect their traditional knowledge and skills, and which espouse the development of working partnership with indigenous people based upon the principle of full informed consent, are not being applied properly by governments and conservation agencies, even though they have already been agreed by them. The reasons for this failure are complex, and related to the need for revision of conservation project practices and legislative measures concerning communities’ land rights. This briefing concludes that solutions supporting community rights and biodiversity are now within reach. This conference is an important opportunity to promote a shift in favour of both communities’ rights, as well as the long-term and sustainable conservation of biodiversity. FPP will continue to support efforts to help its partners in CEFDHAC participating countries to develop the necessary dialogue with conservation organisations on these issues in order to promote both the interests of their communities and the protection of their environment. 

Conservation de la biodiversité et populations locales en Afrique centrale - Réconcilier les droits des populations locales et la conservation des écosystèmes, Mai 2004

Opportunities at the 5ème CEFDHAC - Conférence sur les écosystèmes de forêts denses et humides d'Afrique centrale

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Cette communication pour la 5ème Conférence sur les Ecosystèmes de Forêts Denses et Humides d'Afrique Centrale (CEFDHAC) souligne les inquiétudes fondamentales concernant les droits des communautés forestières autochtones d’ Afrique Centrale. Celles-ci sont en effet confrontées à de graves discriminations de la part de la société, sont traitées comme des êtres inférieurs,exploitées par leurs voisins, et sont d’une façon récurrente ignorées par des projets de développement.

Indigenous Peoples' Rights, State Sovereignty and the Convention on Biological Diversity

It is often stated that attention to and respect for indigenous peoples’ rights in connection with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is barred by the principle of state sovereignty. This assertion is incorrect in light of contemporary international law. State sovereignty does not and cannot preclude attention to and respect for indigenous peoples’ internationally guaranteed rights.

Protecting and encouraging customary use of biological resources: The Upper Caura, Venezuela - 10(c) Case Study

Article 10(c) of the CBD requires States to protect and encourage customary use of biological resources. This study of and by the indigenous Ye'kwana and Sanema peoples of the Upper Caura, Venezuela, demonstrates that their traditional practices are clearly ‘compatible with conservation and sustainable use’. Encouragingly, the legal framework for State compliance already exists and merely needs to be put into practice.

Protected areas: protected against whom?

Book available on request from FPP office:

This collection of articles, drawn from the electronic bulletins of Oilwatch (Resistance) and the World Rainforest Movement's bulletin, were produced for dissemination at the 7th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Malaysia, 2004. The articles provide an international overview of issues surrounding national parks and protected areas.

ISBN 9974778247    198 pages     Paperback